Iowa View | Terry Branstad | December 9, 2020

As Iowans, we are rightfully proud of our election system. Many of the problems that plague other states are not seen here.


As someone who knows firsthand what it is like to have your name on the ballot, I know that once the votes have been counted and the election certified, you’re ready to get to work. We are fresh off of another election season and the newly elected officials are ready to get to work. But there is one race in Iowa that still occupies headlines. 

On election night, in the congressional race to represent southeast Iowa, Mariannette Miller-Meeks narrowly prevailed. It was a close race, and after a canvass, Miller-Meeks’ opponent asked for a recount across all 24 counties in the district. Miller-Meeks prevailed again. After the Election Day victory, the initial canvass, and the district-wide recount, a unanimous vote by the bipartisan State Canvassing Board certified Miller-Meeks as the winner.

But instead of accepting the will of Iowans through our trusted process, former state Sen. Rita Hart claims mysteriously that there “are more votes to be counted.” She says this despite the fact that every vote has already been counted once on Election Day and again by bipartisan recount boards in each of the 24 counties. Every legal vote has been examined and counted — twice. Hart lost, fair and square. 

Iowa law gives candidates one last avenue to challenge an election. If Hart believed that the recount excluded ballots that should have been counted, she could have raised those issues with Iowa’s neutral judges through a judicial election contest. But Hart didn’t trust Iowa’s process. Rather, she skipped over Iowa’s impartial judiciary and picked a Washington, D.C., political process. She says she is going to contest the election result in the U.S. House of Representatives. Instead of a panel of Iowa judges hearing her case, she will present it to a partisan committee. This is not the rule of law. It is the rule of power. If Nancy Pelosi wants to shove aside the person elected by Iowans, she can do it.

This is wrong, and Iowans should say so. They should tell Hart and Pelosi that we elect our own leaders; a California politician should not be allowed to select who represents us. All Iowans, Republicans, Democrats, and independents, should reject Rita Hart’s political power move. She should accept defeat, and, if she wishes, run again in two years. That is what Iowans deserve.

Read the full opinion piece online by clicking here.


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