You’ve heard it said time and time again, “every vote counts.” Well, never was there a year when the saying has been more accurate. As you know, many, many elections this year ended with a minimal margin between winners and losers.
None, so far, have been as close as the race between incumbent Democratic Iowa State Senator Rita Hart and her opponent, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks.
After the initial vote and counting of votes, it was determined that Hart lost by a mere 50 or so votes. Naturally, she was upset about this and demanded a recount, which the state gave to her. However, after another counting and several weeks more, it was discovered that Hart had once again lost.
According to Politico, the margin of her defeat was even lower, coming in at only six votes.
And this has led Hart to believe that another recount needs to be done. Only this time, she isn’t willing to let the state do it.
Instead, she is asking for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her cohorts to handle it.
Now, while the idea is laughable, indeed, there is actually precedence set for such.
As outlined in the Federal Contested Elections Act of 1969, the process involves the House of Representatives or at least its House Administration Committee opening an investigation into the election in question. After reports on the election are made, the committee then brings those before the full House for a simple vote.
The only time this has actually been used was in 1985 when a Democratic House incumbent lost his election by a mere 35 votes. Indiana Representative Frank McCloskey incited this process to be used. Since the House had a Democratic majority, he was able to keep his seat, which he held on to for nearly another ten years.
And that is precisely why Hart thinks she has a shot a getting her seat back – because the House currently has a Democratic majority.
Of course, to the public, she notes that this is the only fair way to resolve the election and make sure that every vote is counted and voice heard.
Her campaign manager Zach Meunier told Politico, “With a margin this small, it is critical that we take this next step to ensure Iowans’ ballots that were legally cast are counted.”
Note that, as I mentioned before, these votes have already been counted twice. But apparently, neither defeat was good enough. Hart wants another, apparently.
She tweeted on Wednesday, “The only way to ensure all Iowans’ votes are counted is a full examination of this election by the U.S. House that will consider every ballot cast.”
However, we aren’t exactly sure that 1) Pelosi will bite and 2) that the result will end any differently.
As for the latter matter, the House incurred some rather severe losses of their own this year, leaving them just barely in grasp of their majority. And not all elections are even done yet, meaning it could sustain more.
This means there is a high possibility that such a vote given to the full house might not result in a Democratic win, especially if members do not vote strictly on party lines.
And if they do, and Hart gets her seat back?
Well, that brings us to the first point. It will only add to the idea that Pelosi and her party are playing the system. On both sides of the aisle, Americans are beginning to distrust our election process due to the not so cemented results of the presidential election.
Having Pelosi and friends put someone back into office, who, for all extents and purposes, lost just because she’s part of the same party will only make their party look worse. And as of right now, Pelosi already has enough complaints on her plate.
Suffice it to say that neither result is something the House Speaker is likely looking forward to. Hart just might find herself taking one for the team here.
Hart did have another option. She could have taken the issue before a state held deliberation, in which an Iowa Supreme Court Justice and several other lower judges would rule on the election. However, the deadline to file for such was Wednesday, and Hart opted for Pelosi’s not so likely help instead.
I’d say it was the wrong choice. Then again, apparently so was trying for a recount…