JOHNSON COUNTY, IOWA — This week recounts have begun across Iowa’s Second Congressional District, where Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks holds a tiny lead over Democrat Rita Hart. After missing votes were discovered in Jasper, and Lucas counties, The Hart campaign asked for a recount.
“It’s one of the tightest in the country as far as the margin, each campaign has an opportunity to have a recount because of the less than 1% difference,” said Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate. “We started yesterday in Scott County, today’s here in Johnson, and those are the two biggest counties in district.”
As the recount is underway across the district the Hart campaign has issued a letter calling on the Secretary of State to clarify recount guidance, as some “18,000 ballots would go un-examined, if he does not clarify directions for county.” The request has to do with 200 over votes, where the ballot is marked for more than one candidate, or 18,000 under votes where votes are less than the races on the ballot.
The recount in each county is governed by a three member recount board.
“Each candidate is allowed to pick a person each candidate has one member up there and then those two members have to decide on the third,” said Travis Weipert, Johnson County Auditor. “Now if they can’t decide on the third representative, a District Court judge picks the third person.”
While this election recount is a lot of work for the Auditor’s Office, it was not a surprise that it’s happening.
“We knew on election night when you saw how close the results were we just started planning for it,” said Weipert. “Emails started flying even started to reconfigure the room here for this process.”