By Tom Tolen /

A newcomer has beaten the incumbent in a recount of Nov. 8th election results in the Hartland Consolidated Schools Board of Education race.

Greg Keller, who is employed as the director of business development at ATC Drivetrain in Farmington Hills, topped incumbent Michelle Hemeyer by 18 votes in a recount after the two had deadlocked in the Nov. 8th election.

Keller ran as part of a slate of candidates with a conservative platform. The slate is called "Clean Slate" and espouses such priorities as school safety, focusing on academic achievement and “end(ing) divisive policies that teach kids what to think instead (of) how to think."

Hemeyer was appointed to fill a board vacancy in 2015 and was elected the following year to a six-year term, which ends this year.

In the original, unofficial results, both Hemeyer and Keller garnered 5,264 votes. However, in the recount, Keller gained an additional 24 votes. In the recount, Keller received a total of 5,288 votes to Hemeyer’s 5,271 votes. The other winning candidates for 6-year board seats also gained votes in the recount. Glenn Gogoleski received 5,453 votes in the original results, which increased to a total of 5,478 as a result of the recount. Meghan Glabach garnered 5,412 votes in the original count, which increased to a final tally of 5,420 due to the recount.

County Clerk Elizabeth Hundley told WHMI on Monday that, quote, "Basically, mistakes by voters or errors by voters when marking the ballot caused the issues." Keller told WHMI his understanding is that the problem stemmed from the fact that many people voted for three - the maximum - choices among the ballot candidates, but also wrote the name of a write-in candidate. That totals four selections, which resulted in none of the votes being counted. "It was counted as an over-vote," Keller said, adding, “The machines did what they were supposed to do.”

The tie vote was initially thought to have been resolved by a drawing held on Nov. 11th. In it, Hemeyer drew a slip of paper that said “elected” while Keller’s paper said “not elected”. But Keller subsequently filed for a recount, while Hemeyer - concerned about the cost to the district - filed an objection. Regardless, the recount was held last week at the Livingston County EMS Center, concluding on Friday.

Keller thanked those who voted for him saying, “The voters of Hartland were heard,” adding that he is, quote, “humbled by all the support. Thanks to Michelle and all the other candidates; we all share the goal of doing what we think is best for the district.” Keller is married and the couple have one child, who attends Hartland Consolidated Schools.

Hundley said that running a recount requires a lot of personnel. There were 41 recount workers, two election staff members, the board of canvassers and Hundley, for a total of 48. Complimenting the recount workers for their efforts, she told WHMI, "The election went remarkably smooth for such a complex recount." Hundley also thanked the candidates and challengers "for being respectful and cooperative throughout the entire process."

Michelle Blondeel, who was elected to a partial 2-year term on Nov. 8th, will be seated at tonight's regular board meeting while Keller and Glenn Gogoleski who also won a 6-year seat on the board, will take their seats at the first meeting in January.

WHMI attempted without success to reach Hemeyer for comment.