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Jasper County Correction Changes Vote Count In Iowa’s 2nd District

Grant Gerlock
Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott incorrect numbers were reported for several races because of "human error" in the transfer of results from the precinct to the county level.

The unofficial results of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District race have turned after Jasper County officials corrected what they said was an error in vote reporting.

According to the revised numbers, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who was leading the unofficial count by a slim margin, now trails Democrat Rita Hart by only 162 votes as of Friday afternoon.

Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott said incorrect vote numbers were published after a staff member entered the wrong results for one precinct into the county’s reporting system.

Parrott said several different races and candidates were impacted, but acknowledged that the change was likely to upset Miller-Meeks’ supporters.

“The results will make one side happy and the other side unhappy,” Parrott said. “Let me tell you this, the Jasper County Auditor’s Office is the zebra in the game. We’re the officials. We don’t take sides and everybody in Jasper County knows that we don’t.”

County officials will conduct a recount of all ballots starting Saturday to confirm that the corrected results are accurate. In addition, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has ordered a hand-count audit of one precinct near Mingo.

Pate said it is unusual for revised results to have such a significant impact, but he said normal checks on the election process uncovered the mistake.

“The system worked,” Pate said. “The discrepancy was caught by the Jasper County Auditor’s Office. They contacted my office immediately. We drove here to Jasper County. We investigated and we found out what happened.”

Parrot said he contacted the Secretary of State’s office Thursday afternoon after his staff was unable to track the source of a discrepancy in the vote count. State officials determined that the problem was caused by unintentional “human error” as results were transferred from the precinct report into the county’s election reporting system. Pate said there were no problems with the counting machines at the precinct itself.

The Miller-Meeks campaign released a statement Friday afternoon, saying it didn't believe there has been enough transparency concerning this matter.

"We have demanded additional information because those unexplained discrepancies have the potential to alter the election outcome," the statement read.

The recount and audit in Jasper County may take multiple days to complete but are expected to be finished in time for the results to be certified by the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Pate said there is still time for more mail-in votes to arrive and be counted and cautioned that the results in the 2nd District could continue to change.