It isn’t often that a small handful of votes can decide an election, but reports from Iowa on Sunday make the importance of counting every vote in a free and fair election very clear.
Democrat Kayla Koether requested a recount after she lost to the incumbent, State Rep. Michael Bergen. The final vote total was 6,919 to 6.912, a difference of only seven votes. However, according to an editor from Slate named Kavin Senapathy, a voter suppression tactic could have swung the vote totals the other way.
‘About 29 absentee ballots from left-leaning Winneshiek County weren’t counted. One of those was Liam’s, and he says his ballot was mailed ahead of deadline.’
The rules in Iowa say that an absentee ballot must be postmarked prior to the deadline date in order for the vote to be counted, but some post offices did not postmark the ballots. As a result, their votes will not be included in the count even though some of them insist that they mailed them ahead of the deadline.
According to The Courier:
‘Auditor Ben Steines issued a press release in response to questions circulating through social media, emails and phone calls about the status of those ballots. He said the county had no choice in the matter.
‘“This is not a choice of the Board of Supervisors, this is not the choice of the auditor, this is state law,” Steines stated.’
It’s rather odd, however, that the problem of postmarks only seemed to effect Winneshiek County, which is very left-leaning. Residents there say they had no idea that the post office might not postmark their ballots, effectively stripping them of the right to vote.
One resident, Cerissa Snethen, blamed Steines for the problem since the county is one of the few that doesn’t use the intelligent barcode system to postmark the ballots even though it would cost less than even regular postmark systems do. She also remarked that “if she did her job like Steines did his, she would be fired.”
‘We wouldn’t be in this mess (if the county had the barcode system). I think this falls at your feet. You are responsible for this. People are disenfranchised because of this situation.’
John Logsdon, the board of supervisors chair, was outraged by Snethen suggestion and was ready with a sexist response.
‘You’re telling my auditor, one of the stellar auditors of the state, he should be fired…You know nothing about what’s going on. How long have you been an auditor honey?’
Snethen doesn’t need to be an auditor to insist on every vote being counted. After all, she’s a voter.