DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate ordered a hand recount audit in one precinct in Jasper County, and requested a recount of the unofficial results countywide after a discrepency was found.
An investigation by Pate and Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott determined that a human data entry error in the Jasper County Auditor’s Office resulted in some results being over-reported in the Clear Creek-Poweshiek precinct.
The contest primarily impacted by the error was Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District race.
“The integrity of Iowa’s elections is my top priority as State Commissioner of Elections,” Pate said. “We have protections in place in Iowa to ensure the integrity of the vote. All elections are conducted on paper ballots. There is a paper trail that allows us to go back and look at all the results if there is a discrepancy. We conduct post-election audits. The system worked and we will make sure all the numbers are accurate.”
Parrott agrees with Pate’s request for a countywide recount.
“Obviously on election night the Jasper County Auditor’s Office made an election results reporting error. It has since been corrected,” Parrott said. “I credit the system of checks and balances that Iowa has that gives auditors time before the county supervisors canvass the vote to catch errors and issues that may have happened on Election Day.”
The hand-count audit of the precinct in question and countywide administrative recount will begin immediately and be completed ahead of the Jasper County canvass of votes on Tuesday afternoon.
Election night results are always unofficial. The numbers are not finalized until after counties conduct post-election audits and canvasses, and the numbers are certified on a statewide basis at the end of November. Every county is conducting post-election audits in randomly selected precincts to help ensure the integrity of the vote.
On Election Night, State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Ottumwa, led former State Senator Rita Hart, D-Wheatland, by 282 votes in a race that has not yet been called. Miller-Meeks had 50.0 percent (196,769), and Hart had 49.9 percent (196,487).
After the discrepancy was found, Hart now leads Miller-Meeks 49.9 percent (196,603) to 49.8 percent (196,441).
Miller-Meeks’ campaign said there has not been sufficient transparency.
“We do not agree with the Jasper County Auditor and the Secretary of State’s Office that there has been sufficient transparency concerning the machine irregularities and the auditor’s own claims that human error in the tabulation process arose after results were reported. We have demanded additional information because those unexplained discrepancies have the potential to alter the election outcome. We expect to receive that information immediately,” the campaign statement said.