Iowa Democrat sues to count absentee ballots

DECORAH, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - The Democrat who lost a recount for an Iowa State House seat is suing to count 33 absentee ballots.

Kayla Koether filed an emergency lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Des Moines claiming after a recount this week showed she lost to Republican Dave Bergan by just 9 votes.

That recount excluded 33 absentee ballots in Winneshiek County that arrived on election day and the day after but with no postmark to confirm when the ballot was mailed. All absentee ballots in Iowa must arrive on or before election day or be post-marked the day before election day.

"The fact that these ballots were received the day after the election makes it highly probable that they were mailed prior to “the day before the Election,” since mail travels from Winneshiek County to Waterloo and then returns to Winneshiek for delivery," the lawsuit argues. "This process, typically takes two days.

Koether argues the Iowa Secretary of State's Office has refused to seek bar code information from the U.S. Postal Service that might determine when the ballots were mailed.

“Every legal vote should be counted. We believe that these 33 ballots were mailed on time in accordance with the law, and every effort must be made to count these additional votes. Our citizens voted in good faith, and their ballots should be counted in good faith,” said Koether.

The lawsuit claims Fayette County did count 25 ballots that arrived on or after election day, 12 of which had the same bar code with no postmark.

The lawsuit requests a judge order the Winneshiek County Auditor and Secretary of State to count the 33 absentee ballots and block the Secretary of State from certifying the election results on December 3rd.