February 3, 2021
22 Legally-cast, Uncounted — and Uncontested — Ballots Will Put Hart Ahead by Nine Votes
WHEATLAND, IOWA — Rita Hart has filed a new response with the U.S. House outlining Mariannette Miller-Meeks’s failure to demonstrate entitlement to the seat for Iowa’s Second Congressional District and reaffirming the need to ensure all legally-cast ballots are counted in this ongoing race.
In her initial Notice of Contest filed with the U.S. House in December, Rita Hart identified 22 lawful ballots cast by voters in Iowa’s Second Congressional District that were wrongfully not counted in the race. As a part of that contest, Rita provided comprehensive evidence to verify that these ballots were cast legally and erroneously uncounted. As Hart outlines in today’s filing, Miller-Meeks does not contest the validity of these ballots, instead she’s wrongly arguing about process to attempt to justify the disenfranchisement of Iowa voters.
“Contestant Rita Hart’s notice of contest identified—and provided comprehensive evidence to verify—22 lawful ballots cast by voters in Iowa’s Second Congressional District that were not counted in the November 2020 election,” said Hart attorney Marc Elias. “In her motion to dismiss, Contestee Mariannette Miller-Meeks does not contest the validity of these ballots. Instead, she shrugs at the undisputed disenfranchisement of 22 Iowa voters and urges the U.S. House to do the same based on a nonexistent procedural requirement with no basis in the law. Ultimately, Miller-Meeks’s focus on process over people fails, both as a matter of principle and as a matter of law, and she raises no substantive objection to the counting of the 22 votes identified by Contestant Hart. Contestee Miller-Meeks’s purported concern that this contest will diminish public confidence in elections rings hollow as she seeks to wrongfully disenfranchise lawful Iowa voters whose ballots should be counted. Her motion should be denied, those ballots should be counted, and Contestant Hart should properly be seated in the House.”
In condoning the undisputed disenfranchisement of 22 Iowa voters, Miller-Meeks calls the errors that caused these votes to go uncounted a product of the “ordinary course of election administration,” and urges the Committee to dismiss the contest. Unfortunately for Miller-Meeks, her insistence that state judicial remedies be exhausted before a House contest can be filed is not only inconsistent with House precedent set by Republicans when they held the majority, see Dornan v. Sanchez, but would also intrude upon Congress’s constitutional prerogative to judge the elections and qualifications of its members. These disenfranchised Iowa voters deserve to have their ballots counted.