July 26, 2021

Recounted once, recounting again

Supervisors authorize auditor’s office to conduct recount under Hart campaign’s request

One week ago, the Jasper County Auditor's Office completed a full recount of all ballots cast in the region after election results in one precinct were overreported due to an admitted clerical data entry error. Now, after another county reported result errors, Jasper County will have to do conduct another recount.

All 24 counties in Iowa’s Second Congressional District will have to follow suit, following a recent request from Democratic candidate Rita Hart.

When Jasper County announced its error, the overreported results swayed the Iowa Second Congressional District race into Hart’s favor. Shortly after Jasper County completed its audit of the affected precinct, it was announced that Lucas County had mistakenly left out one entire precinct.

Now, Republican candidate Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks leads the race by less than 50 votes. On Tuesday, Nov. 17, the Jasper County Board of Supervisors authorized its auditor’s office to usher the second recount. The auditor’s office will undergo similar procedures as before.

The auditor’s office will conduct this recount at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at the county EOC, Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott confirmed with Newton News. Election officials will arrange a machine count of all the precincts and then follow up with a hand-count of the Clear Creek/Poweshiek precinct.

Afterwards, the nearly 11,000 absentee ballots will be run through a tabulator. Parrott is confident the elections results in the county will remain the same.

Hart’s campaign manager Zach Meunier said in a statement that the most important part of this process “is that we get this right” and that election officials do not put “expediency ahead of accuracy with Iowans’ voices at stake.” He said it was “outrageous” that Lucas County identified a problem so close to canvass.

“Given the mistakes we’ve seen so far, the counties should not adopt results until they have taken the time needed to make sure they are absolutely correct,” Meunier said in a statement shortly after Lucas County announced its error. “Anything less will perpetuate doubt around this election.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com