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House District 81 is inching toward finishing up a candidate-requested recount in the race between conservative Republican Luana Stoltenberg and liberal Democrat Craig Lynn Cooper.

Stoltenberg won as of election night by 29 votes. But then it was discovered a batch of absentee ballots didn’t get counted, and Stoltenberg’s 29-vote victory turned into a six-vote loss.

However, after recounting absentee ballots earlier this week, Stoltenberg actually held a nine-vote lead — if the Election Day results were accurate. Election Day counts did turn out to be accurate, and Stoltenberg was ahead by that nine-vote margin when the recount was finished.

However, two of the bipartisan, candidate-selected recount board members decided to revisit the absentee ballots. They want to make sure no ballots with the House District 81 race on it were put into a stack of ballots not to be counted.

As it turned out, two new House District 81 ballots were discovered — both were for Stoltenberg.

Both recount board members who wanted to re-examine the absentee ballots are Democrats, according to the QC Times.

Both members initially signed off on the absentee numbers following the recount, knowing the discrepancy existed. But on Tuesday, they refused to sign off on all the sheets.

The recount board has a deadline of Friday at midnight to submit a recount report to Scott County Auditor Kerri Tompkins.

The Iowa Standard is still awaiting an explanation for how 488 absentee ballots didn’t get counted on Election Day.


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