When Johnson County absentee voter Steven Schaefer received his absentee ballot, the envelope was already sealed shut. Unsure of how to proceed but committed to making sure his vote would count, Mr. Schaefer carefully opened the envelope, placed his ballot inside, and securely sealed it. To ensure that his ballot would be counted, Mr. Schaefer signed the top of the envelope where he had securely sealed it to indicate that he was the individual who had done so.
Mr. Shaefer’s ballot envelope was flawed through no fault of his own, yet despite the lengths he went to to make it clear that he had sealed the envelope, Johnson County officials did not count Mr. Schaefer’s ballot.
“I want my vote to be counted. I am very upset that my ballot has not been counted and my voice in this important election has not been heard,” said Johnson County voter Steven Schaefer. “I took all necessary steps to cast my vote, including signing the top of my envelope to show I was the one who sealed the envelope, and now it has been rejected, apparently due to election administration error.”
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 Mr. Schaefer’s that were unlawfully excluded from the state-certified results. To read the full Notice of Contest click here. Mr. Schaefer’s affidavit can be found on page A-106.
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.