Back Print

Could a recount lead to a different result in Iowa House District 55?

Posted: Wed, Nov 7, 2018 3:38 PM

In the race for Iowa State House District 55, incumbent Republican Michael Bergan has beaten Democratic challenger Kayla Koether by 8 votes out of nearly 14,000 votes cast.  Or has he?

An election race that is that close would trigger an automatic recount, but additional developments Wednesday definitely clinched plans to hold a recount.  Winneshiek County Auditor Ben Steines says some 40 absentee ballots arrived in his office the day after the election.

If there's a 9-vote difference between ballots for Kayla Koether and ballots for Michael Bergan among those ballots, Koether could be declared the winner.  Of course, it's not as simple as that.  Steines says in order to be counted, late-arriving ballots have to be postmarked not later than the day before the election--in this case, Monday, November 5th.  Steines says he's looked at the ballots which arrived Wednesday and a number of them were not postmarked by the US Postal Service.

There's another complication as well.  Not only is Democratic-leaning Winneshiek County holding a recount, but so are Republican-leaning Clayton and Fayette Counties.  Any addition of net votes for Koether in Winneshiek County could be entirely or partially offset by net votes for Bergan in Clayton and Fayette Counties.

In Winneshiek County, three volunteers from among this week's election polling place workers will meet Friday morning to review some of these issues.  Next Tuesday at noon Winneshiek County Supervisors will gather at the Courthouse Annex to review the additional ballots and decide any questions involving absentee ballots or provisional ballots.  Supervisors in Clayton and Fayette Counties will do likewise early next week so that totals from the three counties can be combined for a final count of certified ballots.