(The Center Square) – National attention continues to focus on the contested election for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District between U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and challenger Rita Hart.
This week’s actions included comments from top political officials and both legal teams’ filing replies on March 29.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate wrote a letter March 26 to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urging her “to reject any attempts to overturn the will of Iowa voters.”
Pate continued: “The recount boards in all 24 counties were bipartisan, comprised of one representative from the Miller-Meeks campaign, one representative from the Hart campaign and a third member who was agreed upon by the other two representatives or appointed by a district court judge.” Pate said in the letter. “The Hart campaign signed off on the recount procedures and results in all 24 counties. Following the recount, the bipartisan State Canvassing Board unanimously accepted the results and officially certified the election. At the end of this bipartisan process, Mariannette Miller-Meeks won: 196,964 to 196,958.”
Pate refuted Hart's stated claim that Iowa law did not grant adequate time for addressing her challenge.
“Ms. Hart has stated that her reason for failing to give Iowans a voice in this process is that Iowa law does not allow for sufficient time to review her claims.” Pate said. “That assertion is in stark contrast to the fact that Iowa’s Judicial Branch has always gone above and beyond to issue expeditious rulings in cases concerning election law. The Hart campaign should have exhausted all state avenues before asking a federal chamber controlled by her party to make the final determination. Iowans should have the final say in all Iowa elections, not Washington, D.C., politicians.”
Hart’s team identified 22 ballots that they argue were “wrongfully excluded from the state-certified vote totals and are sufficient to change the result of the election and entitle her to Contestee Miller-Meeks’s seat,” as Marc Elias, attorney for contestant Rita Hart, said in the reply brief to Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren addressing the arguments Miller-Meeks’ team made in its previous legal brief.
Miller-Meeks’ legal team said in their reply brief to Lofgren that “there is nothing principled” about Hart’s request.
“The danger of what Hart proposes cannot be overstated,” they said. “One cannot change the rules after the election was conducted without favoring one candidate or the other – and without destroying the public’s confidence in our election system.”
They objected to a portion of Hart’s proposed discovery process that stated “depositions of individual voters – whose sworn affidavits regarding their ballots contain all information relevant to this contested election case – should be avoided as unnecessary.”