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An Iowa District Judge orders the Post Office to examine 33 Winneshiek County mail-in ballots

Posted: Mon, Dec 3, 2018 10:39 AM

In a mixed ruling, Iowa District Court Judge Scott Beattie Monday morning granted one request by Democratic State Assembly candidate Kayla Koether, while denying a second request.

Judge Beattie ordered the Iowa Secretary of State and the Winneshiek County Auditor to act by Wednesday to get information from the US Post Office on whether 33 uncounted absentee ballots were put in the mail in time to be counted in the November 6th election. 

The 33 mail-in ballots were not counted in the election results because they were not postmarked.  However, Koether argued that the envelopes appeared to have bar codes which would allow the US Postal Service to determine when the envelopes were mailed. In his opinion released Monday morning, Beattie stated, "Failure to read the barcodes could result in ballots that were validly cast being ignored."

However, Judge Beattie denied a second request to prevent the State Elections Board of Canvass to certify the November 6th election results, noting, "the Plaintiff can delay the certification of the election by filing a Notice of Contest. By doing so, the election will not be valid until the contest is resolved."  He described his ruling as "limited to the preservation of evidence."  Beattie said he would hold a separate hearing after the 33 ballots have been analyzed by the Post Office, determining "if further relief is warranted."

A copy of Beattie's court order is linked below.