County launches recount of nation's closest congressional race

Three-man panel examines 47-vote difference in Hart vs. Miller-Meeks race


Scott County election authorities on Tuesday joined a recount of the closest congressional election in the nation.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks .01 percent winning vote margin is subject to a recount launched 8 a.m. Tuesday in Scott County.

County auditor Roxanna Moritz said a special recount board of Davenport attorney Ian Russell, representing the Rita Hart campaign, Dick Davidson, for Miller-Meeks and retired District Court Judge John Nahra. The three convened 8 a.m. Tuesday for the recount at the county’s warehouse at 4715 Tremont Ave., Davenport.

Nahra opened the the count by asking Moritz, "how do we know this is all the votes?"

Moritz walked through rows of vote counters still containing paper ballots from each of the county's 63 precincts. The recount board members can compare the numbers of paper ballots to poll books confirming how many showed up Election Day. Moritz also retained copies of every early ballot requests.

The Secretary of State shows 196,862 votes for Miller-Meeks and 196,815 for former state senator and current Big Rock farmer Rita Hart.

The 47-vote difference will be checked in recount in all 24 counties of Iowa’s Second Congressional District.

In Scott County, Hart won 47,457 votes to Miller-Meeks’ 41,967.

Hart's campaign manager Zach Meunier is seeking a recount in all 24 counties.

"During the last two weeks we have seen the incredibly slim margin in this race shift back and forth between the two candidates due to reporting errors in several precincts. Given the number of errors that have emerged, Iowans deserve to know that all results are accurate before they are finalized," Meunier said.

Each county's recount board will consist of a representative selected by each campaign, and a third member agreed to by each campaign.

Recount boards tally the ballots in all precincts and determines if a hand count or scan is used.

Recounts are open to the public and each campaign and party can appoint an observer.