DES MOINES, Iowa – Former State Senator Rita Hart, D-Wheatland, announced on Thursday that their campaign would file for a complete recount of all 24 counties in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. The campaign cites numerous counting and tabulation irregularities over the last week.
The campaign said by the end of the business on Friday, they will personally deliver written filings to all 24 county auditors outlining the request for the recount.
After a recount conducted in Lucas County on Thursday, State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Ottumwa, leads Hart by 47 votes – 49.92 percent (196,862) to 49.90 percent (196,815).
“With so much at stake in this election and such a slim margin separating the candidates, Iowans deserve to know categorically that their ballots have been accurately counted. Over the last several days, multiple consequential errors have materialized in this race that have serious implications for the district’s future representation. Given the errors found in Jasper and Lucas counties at the eleventh hour, we are moving forward today with requests for a complete recount of each precinct in the Second Congressional District to make sure all results have been reported accurately. Anything less will perpetuate doubt around this election,” Zach Meunier, Hart’s campaign manager, said in a release.
Last Friday, Jasper County announced an over-reporting error that, after corrected, put Hart ahead of State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Ottumwa. On Tuesday, Lucas County reported an under-reporting error that put Miller-Meeks back into the lead once it was corrected.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate ordered an audit of the specific precincts and requested a countywide recount in both Jasper and Lucas counties that have now been completed.
“The integrity of Iowa’s elections is my top priority and we are taking all the necessary steps to ensure the vote count is accurate,” Pate said last Tuesday.
He said following Jasper County’s data entry error he asked all 99 county auditors to double-check their results.
“These human errors are unfortunate and frustrating, but the system is working. We have voter ID, paper ballots, post-election audits and a paper trail to protect the sanctity of the vote,” Pate added.
Miller-Meeks’ campaign, who declared victory on Tuesday, responded to the recount request.
“The recount of votes in all 24 counties, which have already been officially certified, will ensure once again that every legal vote has been counted. That has been Senator Miller-Meeks’ expectation, desire and commitment throughout the campaign. We look forward to a speedy and efficient process to confirm that she is the winner of this race,” Eric Woolson, campaign spokesperson, said in a released statement.
Iowa law states that if the margin of victory is fifty votes or one percent of the total number of votes cast, whichever is greater, the state will cover the cost of the recount.