22 Legally-cast, Uncounted Votes Will Put Hart Ahead by Nine Votes
DES MOINES — Before Election Day, two eligible Iowa voters from Des Moines County and Wapello County respectively, Mei Ling Lietsch and Krystal Nicole Klawonn, returned their absentee ballots to a no-contact ballot delivery drop box affixed to the Linn County Auditor Office. Both voters are college students in Linn County. Both ballots were received by Election Day and were mailed to the respective counties of each voter.
Des Moines and Wapello Counties inappropriately rejected both ballots as untimely, even though both ballots were in the hands of election officials and despite the fact that Iowa law merely requires that the envelope be “received in the commissioner’s office” by Election Day. Iowa law does not specify that an envelope must be returned to the commissioner’s office where the voter resides. These voters did everything right and their ballots have been rejected contrary to Iowa law.
“Getting my ballot submitted in time was important to me so, before Election Day, I deposited my ballot in an election drop box,” said Wapello County voter Krystal Klawonn. “Although I am a Wapello County voter, I go to school in Linn County. Therefore, I deposited my ballot in a drop box in Linn County. At that point, Iowa election officials had possession of my ballot.”
“My absentee ballot was rejected by the Des Moines County Auditor even though I submitted it to Iowa election officials before election day. I want my vote to be counted. This was my first time voting and I was eager to do my part. Voting is important to me and I’m devastated that despite submitting my ballot to Iowa election officials before election day, my vote has not yet been counted,” said Des Moines County voter Mei Ling Lietsch.
Following an initial state recount process that left thousands of ballots in question, Iowa Second Congressional candidate Rita Hart filed a Notice of Contest with the U.S. House of Representatives which details 22 legally-cast ballots like these ballots that were unlawfully excluded from the state-certified results. To read the full Notice of Contest click here. Krystal Klawonn’s affidavit can be found on page A-81 and Mei Ling Lietsch’s affidavit can be found on page A-89.
The Iowa Democratic Party is highlighting those 22 uncounted voters to emphasize the U.S. House’s responsibility to ensure that every Iowan’s voice is heard. The project comes as several of the disenfranchised voters have spoken out, demanding that their votes be counted.