Please consider Democrats Move on Iowa’s Second District
GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks won the November race by 47 votes in the first count and six votes after lawyers wrangled over ballots in a recount. Democrat Rita Hart wants the House to use its constitutional authority as “judge of the elections” of its Members to impose another recount and reverse the outcome.
Ms. Hart’s brief to the Committee on House Administration claims that 22 ballots should have been counted but weren’t. Ms. Miller-Meeks replied that the challenge should be dismissed because Ms. Hart declined in December to raise her complaints in a special Iowa court designed to resolve contested elections.
On Wednesday the committee’s Democratic majority sided with Ms. Hart and “tabled” Ms. Miller-Meeks’s motion to dismiss. Remarks from the committee chair, Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, suggest Democrats are prepared to see the process through to their desired outcome.
Ms. Lofgren said “the American people deserve to know who actually won this election,” as if the outcome had not already been certified by a 5-0 vote of Iowa’s state elections board composed of three Republicans and two Democrats. The precursor to the Committee on House Administration had held that results are “presumed to be correct until they are impeached by proof of irregularity and fraud.”
But now the committee seems intent on a third count of ballots, this time with Democrats in Washington making the rules. It asked the two parties to list any ballots they think should have been included or excluded. That invites Ms. Hart’s lawyers to introduce more ballot claims they think will favor their side, and forces Ms. Miller-Meeks to do the same though she is already a legally elected Representative.
The party is on the precipice of creating a precedent, for the first time in a generation, that a partisan majority in Congress can disregard state officials and redo a close election count according to its own preferences.
Democrats want Republicans to honor the count but cannot do the same in an election already certified 5-0 twice.