Kayla Koether, the Democratic candidate for House District 55, took legal action yesterday to request 33 absentee ballots received after the Nov. 6 general election without postmarks be counted.
“Every legal vote should be counted. We believe that these 33 ballots were mailed on time in accordance with the law, and every effort must be made to count these additional votes. Our citizens voted in good faith, and their ballots should be counted in good faith,” Koether said.
On Tuesday, the recount boards in Clayton and Winneshiek counties completed their work. After the recount, Koether trails Republican Michael Bergan by nine votes out of nearly 14,000 votes cast.
The recount board did not count 33 absentee ballots with no postmarks that arrived at the Winneshiek County Auditor’s Office after Election Day, including 29 that came in on Nov. 7, the day after the election, according to a news release from the Iowa House Democrats.
“Every Iowan deserves to have their vote counted. There’s no reason to strip away the rights of these 33 Iowans when there is a simple remedy to ensure their vote gets counted,” said House Minority Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City.
“To date, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has refused to obtain the necessary barcode information from the United States Post Office (USPS) in Waterloo that can verify if the ballots were placed in the mail before Monday, Nov. 5, and were legally cast. The Iowa Secretary of State has also refused to allow Winneshiek County Auditor Ben Steines to count the ballots,” the Democrats’ press release stated.
The emergency petition filed in Polk County District Court requests Steines and Pate use the USPS barcode information on the ballots to determine when the ballots were placed in the mail and count those votes that were legally cast.