Cerro Gordo election results finalized, but recounts taking place in two races

MASON CITY — The 2022 election results in Cerro Gordo County are now official, but that doesn’t mean the election is over quite yet.

The Board of Supervisors accepted the canvass of the election during a special session on Tuesday afternoon, making the vote totals final, but there will be at least two races that will have a recount. Amanda Ragan, who lost the Supervisors District 1 race to incumbent Chris Watts by 13 votes, has requested a recount. The other recount will be for the Iowa House District 59 seat as Doug Campbell made the request after losing by 739 votes to incumbent Sharon Steckman.

County Auditor Adam Wedmore says any candidate or someone who is written in can request a recount.  “That candidate would have to fill a form out and file that in my office along with a bond. That bond amount varies anywhere from $100 up to a couple of hundred dollars depending the local race. Once we’ve received that, as long as that recount request was filed by the deadline, then we will be begin the next steps of convening a three-member board to conduct that recount.”

That three-member board is made up of one person selected to represent each candidate as well as a third person agreed on by both candidates. Wedmore says it’s up to that board to decide whether or not they use the voting machines once again to count the ballots or if they do a hand recount.  “It can be either done by hand, it can be done by machine, or they can choose to do a combination of both hand and machine recount. There are some provisions that we must follow if certain practices were done on election night. For example, if we did not use election equipment, then they have to do a hand recount of the ballots. Because we do use election equipment, it’s up to the three-member board to determine if they want to do a hand recount or a machine recount.”

Wedmore says while there’s always a possibility that the machines did not do their job in counting the vote, he feels it’s highly unlikely that the final tally will change.  “The equipment that we use is designed for one thing, and that’s to tally votes, so that is what it does and it does it very well.  We always test our equipment before every election, which we did in this case. In that case, the election equipment performed flawlessly. As with any equipment, there’s a chance that irregularities could happen, and that’s what the opportunity for the recount would do is to discover that. We don’t anticipate the outcome to change based on our administrative recount that we conducted on Monday. The machines counted as they were designed to. We don’t anticipate any changes, but again, that’s why we do this process just to validate that the machines do what they were supposed to do.”

The recount in the Supervisors District 1 race will take place today, while things have not been finalized to conduct the House District 59 recount.

In the Supervisors District 3 race, Don O’Connor stated last Wednesday that he would ask for a recount after losing to Lori Meacham Ginapp, with her lead being trimmed to a final margin of three votes after provisional ballots were accepted in the final totals this week. O’Connor as of Tuesday afternoon had not filed a recount request. He has until Friday to do so.