The recount of all votes for the open seat in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District has begun. Scott County, the most populous of the district’s 24 counties, started its recount on Tuesday and Johnson County began on Wednesday.
The other counties in the 2nd District are expected to begin their recounts this week.
The recounts were requested by Democrat Rita Hart.
The unofficial vote totals changed twice after the Iowa Secretary of State first posted the unofficial tally for the district in the Nov. 3 election. The first time was Nov. 6, when Jasper County corrected the vote totals from one precinct that had been misreported on Election Day. The amended vote totals gave Hart a 152-vote lead over her Republican opponent Mariannette Miller-Meeks.
Miller-Meeks had a 282-vote advantage over Hart before Jasper County corrected its mistake.
Miller-Meeks regained the lead in the district’s unofficial vote total on Nov. 9, when Lucas County corrected an error in its reported vote totals from one precinct. The amended totals gave Miller-Meeks a 47-vote lead over Hart.
Last Thursday, Hart’s campaign announced it would ask for a districtwide recount. The race in the 2nd District is the closest of all 435 elections for the U.S. House of Representatives held this year.
The recount will be conducted in each county by three-member boards. The Hart and Miller-Meeks campaigns each appoint one member to the board, and the third member is jointly selected by the campaigns. In cases where the campaign can’t agree on a third member, which happened in Keokuk County, a judge appoints that person.
In Johnson County, the recount board met on Tuesday and decided to conduct a machine recount of votes, “with the option to hand count Election Day precincts,” according to Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert.
Hart’s strongest showing in the district was in Johnson County, where she received 56,124 votes and Miller-Meeks received 24,099, according to the results the Johnson County Board of Supervisors certified last week. There were also 68 write-in votes cast in the election.
Even though all counties in Iowa have already submitted vote total certified by their boards of supervisors to the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office, none of the totals are considered official until Secretary of State Paul Pate certifies them on Nov. 30.