Republican lawmakers in charge of the Election Contest Committee said late Tuesday that they will not allow disenfranchised voters or any witnesses to testify for the committee before sending a report to the full House.
“I’m disappointed that the majority party isn’t allowing us to have an actual committee hearing – we need to hear testimony from the people who made the original decision to ignore these ballots, and from the people who obtained the information proving that the ballots were mailed on time. Our job is to listen, gather facts, and make a decision as to whether these ballots will be opened and counted. We know we have 29 Iowa citizens who followed the law and legally cast ballots. We need to do our due diligence in order to ensure their fundamental right to vote is protected,” said Rep. Mary Wolfe of Clinton, who serves on the contest committee and is Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Last week, the committee heard opening arguments from attorneys representing Democrat Kayla Koether and Republican Rep. Michael Bergan at the State Capitol. Koether is asking that 29 uncounted legally cast absentee ballots in House District 55 from the November election be counted.
“After asking for a list of witnesses and then cancelling all testimony, Republicans have turned this election contest into a sham. The 29 voters deserve to be heard and it’s essential that this committee gather the facts and listen to the people from Winneshiek County. These Iowans deserve to be heard and their vote should be counted,” said Rep. Brian Meyer of Des Moines, who also serves on the committee.
The Election Contest Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, January 24th at 2 pm when Republican lawmaker are expected to vote out a Majority Report to the full House. Democrats will also be filing a Minority Report.