House Democrats Weigh Option to Decide Contested Iowa Election

Rita Hart has formally contested her 6-vote loss. | Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette via AP
Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette via AP

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has taken initial steps to make a decision in a contested Iowa election, one involving Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Amy Hart, who lost to Miller-Meeks by six votes.

Democrats have now begun to shift their focus to the race after Hart’s continuous claim that Miller-Meeks was improperly declared the winner, although multiple recounts have shown otherwise.

As reported by Politico, the “House Administration Committee gathered virtually Friday afternoon to finalize the process by which it will adjudicate Hart’s claim, which was filed under the Federal Contested Elections Act.”

With a slim, five seat majority, it appears Democrats have realized the importance of the seat currently held by Miller-Meeks, who was sworn in in January.

“Members unanimously agreed to a resolution that establishes procedures the committee will abide by as it considers recent elections contested under the act,” the report from Politico stated. “The committee has yet to act on a request by Miller-Meeks to dismiss Hart’s contest.

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), the ranking committee member, urged his colleagues to not take up the contest from Hart, saying it will set a “dangerous precedent” if it is taken up prior to legal means in the state of Iowa.

“I can’t think of a worst first step this committee could take in a new Congress than to waste taxpayer dollars by moving forward with overturning this election,” Davis said.

According to the Hart campaign, which offered praise for the committee for “ensuring that every legally-cast vote is counted,” there are 22 ballots that were improperly rejected.

Hart campaign manager Zach Meunier said in a statement:

We are glad to see the House Committee on Administration taking action towards ensuring that every legally-cast vote is counted in this race and that all Iowans’ voices are heard. Every legal voter in this country has a right to have their ballot counted and the remedy here is clear — count the ballots.

Hart’s team of lawyers claim she would have defeated Miller-Meeks by nine votes if the improperly rejected ballots in question were not improperly rejected.

Hart’s team of lawyers, led by Marc Elias, who represented Democrat challenges to state rules throughout the 2020 election, alleged in a court filing earlier this month that a close congressional race in New York’s 22nd Congressional District between Republican Claudia Tenney and Democrat Anthony Brindisi was marred by faulty voting machines. In addition, Elias is also responsible for hiring Fusion GPS to compile the “Russia dossier” to dig up dirt on then candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 race.

The last time the House elected to overturn an election was in 1985, shortly after the 1984 elections. The Democrat majority in the House at that time did not want to seat GOP candidate Richard McIntyre, who challenged Rep. Frank McCloskey (D-IN). McIntyre was the certified winner by a Republican official in the state. However a recount showed McCloskey won by a margin of four votes. Democrats then voted to seat McCloskey, causing uproar throughout the chamber as Republicans began to protest.

Rep. Davis highlighted that moment from 1985 during the meeting. Davis said:

Ballots that were not legal under the state law were suddenly determined legal votes under new rules invented by a partisan task force, who completely rejected state law. They changed the rules of the game after the game had already been played. And that’s exactly what could be happening 35 years later.

Last December, during a video shared to social media, Hart insisted she is not challenging the results through Iowa courts because “there was only one way that we could get the result that we need, and that is to take this to the Committee on House Administration.”

With more than 400,000 votes cast and an official recount certified by state officials, it was confirmed that Hart was defeated by Miller-Meeks by six votes.

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