Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate released a statement Tuesday regarding the Iowa House District 55 election. Pate said political partisans are pushing plenty of false information. He shared the facts of the situation.
“Thirty-three ballots in Winneshiek County arrived after Election Day, without postmarks and without the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) imprinted by the county auditor and authorized by Iowa law. Therefore, they are not eligible to be counted under Iowa law.
“Every absentee ballot envelope in Iowa includes a clear disclaimer that ‘postmarks are not guaranteed.'”
A bill sponsored by Iowa Senate Democrats in 2016 allowed the IMb to be accepted as an optional remedy for county auditors since some absentee ballots are not postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service. The bill was supported by county auditors and Pate. It was passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. Yet only six counties use the IMb on their absentee envelopes.
“I support every eligible vote being counted,” Pate said. “Trying to change the rules after an election is not the way elections work in Iowa. In addition, this office and the Winneshiek County Auditor have complied with the district court order in all respects.”
Pate ensured he will do what he can legally to make sure voters receive the same rights. And, he added his disappointment regarding the political rhetoric.
“My job is to be the referee of elections and not side with one candidate or party,” Pate said. “Ms. Koether has already requested and received recounts in two counties in House District 55, and she has the right under the law to file an election contest.”