With the recount in Iowa’s 2nd District scheduled to resume on Monday, the latest figures show Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks clinging to a 50-vote lead.
The initial vote totals in the 24-county district showed the conservative Miller-Meeks — state senator, physician, and U.S. Army Reserve colonel — defeating liberal Democrat and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Rita Hart by 47 votes out of more than 392,000 cast.
The Hart campaign promptly called for a recount, which has so far increased the lead of Miller-Meeks by 3 votes.
On Wednesday, in what Republicans called a sign of desperation, the Hart team wrote Secretary of State Paul Pate to clarify a process in which a machine count of votes could be followed by a handcount of just overvotes and undervotes to determine voter intent.
(An overvote would be when the bubble next to the names of both Miller-Meeks and Hart were filled in, and an undervote is when the bubbles for neither candidate were filled in).
The Hart campaign insisted that there are at least 200 overvotes and more than 18,000 undervotes and all must be examined for voter intent and then the vote count updated.
Molly Widen, Pate’s legal counsel, promptly responded that dealing with overvotes and undervotes is strictly up to the recount board of each individual county. The board could choose a mechanical or a manual way to recount the ballots.
The recount must be completed by November 30, the date set for the secretary of state to formally certify the election results throughout Iowa.
The 2nd District has been held for the past 14 years by Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack, who announced his retirement in 2020.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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