22 Legally-cast, Uncounted Votes Will Put Hart Ahead by Nine Votes

First time Johnson County voter and University of Iowa student Trajae Lackland was excited to vote in the 2020 election and eager for his voice to be heard. To avoid the stresses and health risks of voting on Election Day, Mr. Lackland and a friend made plans to vote early. Lackland marked, sealed and cast his ballot thinking all was well.

Unfortunately, when the ballot was received by the county auditor’s office, the envelope was unsealed. In a sworn affidavit, Mr. Lackland says that he was the only person who had possession and control over his ballot from the time he received it to the time he dropped it off in an official dropbox.

Despite doing everything right, Mr. Lackland is one of the 22 voters whose legally-cast ballots were never counted in the race for Iowa’s Second Congressional District. Now, he’s fighting to make sure it’s included in the final tally.

“This is my first time voting and I was really excited to elect Rita for my first person vote,” said Johnson County voter Trajae Lackland. “You know, coming from history and … how people of color, wasn’t being able to vote, it really hurts my heart that I didn’t, I didn’t get to vote.”

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. Lackland’s that were unlawfully excluded from the state-certified results. To read the full Notice of Contest click here. Mr. Lackland’s affidavit can be found on page A-87.

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.