Pate recommending uniform election recount rules

DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is proposing a series of steps he says will ensure the recount process in close elections is the same in every county.

“We’ve had an opportunity to identify these areas of improvements while observing several large scale recounts in recent years,” Pate, a Republican, said in a recorded statement about his bill.

For example, Republican Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks was elected by a six vote margin in 2020 after recounts in 24 counties, but the recount process was not identical in each county. Pate is recommending that when a candidate asks for a hand recount, ballots are recounted by hand and by machine. In addition, larger counties would be able to have up to seven members on recount boards. Under current law, every county is limited to a three-person board to oversee a recount.

“The integrity of Iowa’s elections is my top priority and this bill will help us ensure that we have clean, secure elections and a recount process that is uniform across the state,” Pate says.

Pate’s also calling for all counties to conduct their official canvass of elections on Tuesdays, to make the timeline uniform for every county.