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Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ lawyer: Request for rejected ballots ‘regular due diligence’

By Tom Barton, Quad-City Times

Iowa Republican Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks and her lawyer say their position has not changed in the pending election campaign in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.

However, the couple shied away from telling if a recent search for rejected ballot papers signaled a change in repeated claims that every legal ballot was counted.

Miller-Meeks attorney has reached out to at least six county’s accountants to request lists of rejected ballots, according to the Quad-City Times and the Iowa City press officer.

When asked if their stance that every legal vote was counted has changed, Miller-Meeks reiterated Friday that the Iowa courts, not Congress, should make such a decision.

“It’s shocking that (Rita Hart) is telling Congress to ignore Iowa laws,” Miller-Meeks told reporters on a conference call. “Iowa law and Iowa courts are important. Iowa voters matter, and the Iowa courts should play more than a passive role in deciding who goes to Congress. … We will advocate for Iowa law, the Iowa trial, and Iowa voters. “

Miller-Meeks was provisionally sworn in as a new member of Congress last month after state officials confirmed the election results.

Democrat Rita Hart has asked the Democratically controlled US house to investigate and overthrow the race that state officials lost by six votes to Miller-Meeks after a nationwide recount in all 24 counties.

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Hart’s campaign identified 22 ballot papers that are alleged to have been legally cast but not counted due to errors by election workers. If the 22 ballots had been counted, Hart of Wheatland would have won by nine votes.

The Miller-Meeks legal team filed a dismissal motion last month, arguing that “more than a century of precedent” required Hart to exhaust all state-level appeals before taking her case to Congress.

However, the federal law of 1969, according to which Hart questions the election result, does not require exhaustion of all state legal challenges. The house is not necessarily bound by previous precedents, either.

Miller-Meeks attorney Alan Ostergren has argued that Hart failed to demonstrate that she was entitled to the seat, arguing that her attorneys “selected” ballots in her favor “which are routine election administration issues.” However, Miller-Meeks’s motion to dismiss did not contain any additional untold votes.

When asked if their campaign was looking for more votes in the race to ultimately be counted, Ostergren said, “Legally we’re not there right now.”

Ostergren said the county auditors’ request for copies of rejected ballots was part of normal “due diligence” and an “ongoing process” that looked at the legal and factual claims of Hart’s campaign.

Hart’s campaign, meanwhile, argues that Miller-Meeks’ “ballot hunt” shows that she “now agrees that there are Iowans whose votes have yet to be counted”.

By Tom Barton, Quad-City Times

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