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To Recount Or Not To Recount – That Is The Question

By Staff | Nov 11, 2010

With the dust settling after last Tuesday’s mid-term election, the minutes are ticking away for candidates to start the recount process, under Iowa law. Locally, two elections had a margin of less that 50 votes in the final tallies and those candidates would have the option to request a recount of votes by election officials until 5 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 12.

One of those elections could have state-wide ramifications, as the final vote total difference in Iowa House District Seven was just 38 votes on election night. Republican candidate Lannie Miller of West Bend has the right to request a recount of the vote in District Seven from his race with Democratic candidate John Wittneben of Estherville. House District Seven, which covers Palo Alto and Emmet Counties and a portion of Kossuth County, reported a final vote total on election night of 5,092 votes for Miller and 5,130 votes for Wittneben, a difference of less than one percent of the total votes cast in the three counties combined.

According to the Code of Iowa, a candidate may request a recount by posting a bond of $150 and submitting their formal request to their local Commissioner of Elections. However, in a race where the final margin of victory or defeat is less than one percent of the total vote, the candidate requesting the recount is not required to post the bond.

As of last Friday, Nov. 5, officials of the Iowa Republican Party were indicating their intent to request a recount of the election results in the race for Iowa House District Seven, but no formal notification has been received by the Palo Alto County Auditor’s Office.

The second close election in the county involved the office of Palo Alto County Attorney, where Democratic incumbent County Attorney Peter C. Hart was narrowly defeated by Republican challenger Lyssa Henderson by a 1,955 to 1,913 vote tally, a difference of 42 votes. However, that total is just over the one percent mark to waive the posting of the bond for a recount. As of mid-week, no request for a recount had been filed with the Palo Alto County Auditor’s Office.

While the polls officially closed at 9 p.m. on Nov. 2, Iowa Law allows for absentee ballot that have been postmarked the day before the election to be counted up to the end of the week of the election.

In Palo Alto County, eight absentee ballots were received after Election Day, while Emmet County received nine absentees and in Kossuth County, nine absentee ballots were received after election day for a total of 26 late-arriving absentee votes in the district.

All three county Boards of Supervisors canvassed their respective county votes on Tuesday of this week, with small changes to the vote totals for the two candidates.

In Palo Alto County, Lannie Miller gained four votes for a total of 2,105 votes while Wittneben received four additional votes for a total of 1,757 votes.

The Emmet County canvass gave Wittneben five additional votes and four additional votes to Miller’s vote total. In Kossuth County, the absentee ballots gave Miller eight additional votes and one more vote to Wittneben, for a final total of 5,108 votes for Lannie Miller and 5,140 votes for John Winttenben, a difference of 32 votes in favor of Wittneben.

If a formal recount is requested, a recount board comprised of election officials and a representative from each of the political parties involved in the recount will oversee the process, which may be conducted by the use of automatic tabulating equipment or ballots may be counted by hand.

To Recount Or Not To Recount – That Is The Question

By Staff | Nov 11, 2010

With the dust settling after last Tuesday’s mid-term election, the minutes are ticking away for candidates to start the recount process, under Iowa law. Locally, two elections had a margin of less that 50 votes in the final tallies and those candidates would have the option to request a recount of votes by election officials until 5 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 12.

One of those elections could have state-wide ramifications, as the final vote total difference in Iowa House District Seven was just 38 votes on election night. Republican candidate Lannie Miller of West Bend has the right to request a recount of the vote in District Seven from his race with Democratic candidate John Wittneben of Estherville. House District Seven, which covers Palo Alto and Emmet Counties and a portion of Kossuth County, reported a final vote total on election night of 5,092 votes for Miller and 5,130 votes for Wittneben, a difference of less than one percent of the total votes cast in the three counties combined.

According to the Code of Iowa, a candidate may request a recount by posting a bond of $150 and submitting their formal request to their local Commissioner of Elections. However, in a race where the final margin of victory or defeat is less than one percent of the total vote, the candidate requesting the recount is not required to post the bond.

As of last Friday, Nov. 5, officials of the Iowa Republican Party were indicating their intent to request a recount of the election results in the race for Iowa House District Seven, but no formal notification has been received by the Palo Alto County Auditor’s Office.

The second close election in the county involved the office of Palo Alto County Attorney, where Democratic incumbent County Attorney Peter C. Hart was narrowly defeated by Republican challenger Lyssa Henderson by a 1,955 to 1,913 vote tally, a difference of 42 votes. However, that total is just over the one percent mark to waive the posting of the bond for a recount. As of mid-week, no request for a recount had been filed with the Palo Alto County Auditor’s Office.

While the polls officially closed at 9 p.m. on Nov. 2, Iowa Law allows for absentee ballot that have been postmarked the day before the election to be counted up to the end of the week of the election.

In Palo Alto County, eight absentee ballots were received after Election Day, while Emmet County received nine absentees and in Kossuth County, nine absentee ballots were received after election day for a total of 26 late-arriving absentee votes in the district.

All three county Boards of Supervisors canvassed their respective county votes on Tuesday of this week, with small changes to the vote totals for the two candidates.

In Palo Alto County, Lannie Miller gained four votes for a total of 2,105 votes while Wittneben received four additional votes for a total of 1,757 votes.

The Emmet County canvass gave Wittneben five additional votes and four additional votes to Miller’s vote total. In Kossuth County, the absentee ballots gave Miller eight additional votes and one more vote to Wittneben, for a final total of 5,108 votes for Lannie Miller and 5,140 votes for John Winttenben, a difference of 32 votes in favor of Wittneben.

If a formal recount is requested, a recount board comprised of election officials and a representative from each of the political parties involved in the recount will oversee the process, which may be conducted by the use of automatic tabulating equipment or ballots may be counted by hand.