Back Print

Secretary of State Paul Pate responds to judge's ruling on District 55 ballots

Posted: Mon, Dec 3, 2018 11:45 AM

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is not happy about a judge's ruling that 33 mail-in ballots in Winneshiek county should be examined by Postal Service representatives to determine whether they should be counted in the Iowa House District 55 election.

Said Pate, "Winneshiek County Auditor Ben Steines followed the law. Iowa Code is clear on this matter. Absentee ballots that arrive after Election Day and do not contain postmarks, nor a county-specific Intelligent Mail Barcode, are not eligible to be counted. 

The Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) tracing program for absentee ballots was introduced to the Iowa Legislature by my office and signed into law in 2016. We were one of the first states in the nation to authorize use of this method for tracking voted absentee ballots. IMb tracing is a system in which the county auditor prints a unique IM barcode on each return absentee envelope, which allows tracking through the U.S. postal service. Iowa law authorizes IMb tracing as an option for counties, but it is not a requirement. The system is in use in six Iowa counties. Winneshiek County is not one of those."

Iowa District Court Judge Scott Beattie's ruling Monday did not weigh in on whether the ballots should be counted, only that they should be examined by the Postal Service.  Beattie said he would hold a second hearing after the ballots had been examined to determine whether they should be included in the results of the Iowa House District 55 election.