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Democrat Rita Hart still in the lead in District 2 race after machine recount of Jasper County votes


Screen shot of Iowa Secretary of State unofficial vote totals on Nov. 9, 2020.

Update: The hand recount of the precinct in Jasper County that had its results misreported on Nov. 3 was completed late Monday afternoon and confirmed the results of the first machine recount on Friday of all the votes in the county. Rita Hart retained a lead of 152 votes in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District at the end of he hand count.

 

Democrat Rita Hart held onto her lead in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District following a recount of the ballots cast in Jasper County over the weekend. After the machine recount, Hart led Republican Marianette Miller-Meeks in the race for the open seat by 163 votes, according to the unofficial totals posted by the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office.

That is an increase of one vote for Hart since Friday, when the Jasper County Auditor’s Office first correct an error in recording the votes from the county’s precinct that covers the city of Mingo.

“It was a human error, like a lot of things that happen,” Auditor Dennis Parrott said during a news conference with Secretary of State Paul Pate at the Jasper County Courthouse in Newton on Friday morning.

Initially, the misreported results from Jasper County gave Miller-Meeks a winning margin of 282 votes in the 2nd Congressional District. A total of 393,963 ballots were cast in the election.

In addition to the machine recount of the entire county, Pate instructed the auditor’s office to conduct a hand recount of the precinct whose vote totals were originally misreported. That hand recount was occurring on Monday.

The vote totals in Jasper County are scheduled to be certified by the county’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Because mailed-in absentee ballots postmarked by Nov. 2 could be counted if they were received in an auditor’s office by noon on Monday, the vote totals in Iowa are currently still unofficial. The official canvas of state votes must be concluded by Nov. 30.

The machine recount was overseen by both Democratic and Republican observers.

“It was watched by many eyes,” Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott said after the recount was finished Saturday. “It was very transparent. You saw everything that took place.”

On Monday afternoon, Rita Hart put out a video statement about the state of the race.

“The most important thing is we get this right,” she said. “Iowans need to have their voice heard and to make sure that they are listened to.”

After thanking poll workers and election officials for their work, Hart concluded, “We’ll know more soon.”


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