Scott County delays Iowa Second Congressional recount canvass

Knobbe said counting continues in nation's closest race


The counting is not over in Scott County’s double check of the closest congressional race in the nation.

Scott County supervisors Tuesday evening delayed until Monday, Nov. 30, the final canvass of the recounted Iowa Second Congressional district because the ballot totals do not add up, board chairman Tony Knobbe told supervisors.

A three-man recount board started work Tuesday and had wrapped up counting Saturday. County Auditor Roxanna Moritz on Tuesday reconvened them to review absentee ballots from a single Davenport precinct.

Knobbe said Moritz on Tuesday afternoon asked him to delay the canvass that will help decide the closest congressional race in the country.

Moritz “is rejecting that recount and calling them back tomorrow,” Knobbe told supervisors Tuesday evening.

The board had scheduled a 1 p.m. Wednesday canvass to approve results of the recount launched Nov. 17.

After Election Day, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks held a 47-vote margin across the district over Democrat Rita Hart, of Wheatland.

Candidates sought recounts that had reduced the margin to 41 votes.

The pair competed for the seat left open when Democrat Rep. Dave Loebsack retired.

Miller-Meeks’ campaign representative Eric Woolson criticized Scott County’s recount process, particularly, the use of hand and machine counts.

“Iowa law requires a recount in each precinct to be conducted either by Iowa’s reliable optical-scan ballot tabulating equipment or by a hand count. The Iowa Secretary of State has instructed recount boards to use one or the other, but not to combine the two. Most recount boards have complied with that law, but the Hart campaign has advocated for an illegal “hybrid” model in Democrat-leaning counties. The Scott County recount board, over the Miller-Meeks for Congress campaign’s objection and against the instructions of the Secretary of State, adopted this method."

Hart’s campaign manager Zach Meunier dismissed that concern.

"Each individual county recount has made decisions by a majority of the three-person Recount Board and, in Scott County specifically, this fair and lawful process was agreed to by the Board more than five days ago,” Meunier said Sunday. “The Miller-Meeks Campaign had no complaints during those five days, and is only now questioning the recount process as they lose ground. Now, they are questioning the integrity of the Recount Board members -- including their own designee."