Rockford School Board Race Decided By A Card Draw May Not Be Over

May 11, 2017

The Rockford School Board race decided by the flip of playing cards two weeks ago may still be in play.

A discovery recount at the Winnebago County Clerk’s office Thursday morning, according to the Rockford Register Star, indicated possible vote total discrepancies in the write-in race in Rockford School Board Subdistrict A.

The cards drawn to decide the Rockford School District race on April 25, 2017
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Eight write-in candidates ran for the seat in the April 5 election. Initially, Brandi Brown was told she was the winner and even started orientation with school district officials.

Then she and Anthony Dixon were informed that, after all mail-in ballots were counted, they each received 167 votes. Under state law, the winner of a tie vote would be determined by lottery.

Winnebago County Clerk Margie Mullins chose to break the tie by having the two pick a playing card from a deck, with the highest card winning the seat. Dixon won, and he was sworn in at this week’s school board meeting.

Anthony Dixon and Brandi Brown, right after the card draw determined the winner of the tied school board race, April 25.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Brown’s supporters encouraged her to pursue a recount. The discovery recount Thursday, which sampled votes in one precinct plus mail-in ballots and electronic early votes, recount showed Dixon did not receive the number of mail-in votes Mullins said he had on the day of the deciding card draw.

Mullins says she stands by her totals, but Brown is going to pursue a full recount, which will require her to file a challenge in Winnebago County Court.

Meanwhile, Dixon will continue to serve in the Subdistrict A seat, unless the school board is told by the county clerk’s office that Brown is the winner.