© 2023 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

At Cedar Rapids Town Hall, Hinson Faces Questions About 2020 Election Outcome

Rep. Ashley Hinson, pictured in the Iowa State Legislature in January, 2020.
John Pemble
IPR file
Rep. Ashley Hinson, pictured in the Iowa State Legislature in January, 2020.

Despite numerous court rulings and intelligence assessments upholding President Joe Biden’s win last November, Iowa’s members of Congress continue to face questions about false allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election. The issue came up Wednesday at a town hall in Cedar Rapids hosted by Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson.

At a town hall at the Ballantyne Auditorium on the campus of Kirkwood Community College, Hinson took questions from 60 or so attendees on issues ranging from immigration to cybersecurity to support for people with disabilities, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

The event was at times boisterous, punctuated by both applause and boos, and was perhaps at its most rowdy when the conversation turned to the 2020 election.

One attendee asked Hinson about her stance on a bill aimed at restoring the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and whether she believes there is “massive voter fraud” in American elections. Election experts have said there is no evidence to substantiate such claims.

Hinson didn’t directly answer the question, but did take the opportunity to criticize H.R. 1 and H.R. 4, bills aimed at expanding voting rights, as a congressional "power grab."

“I think that absolutely flies in the face of what our Founding Fathers intended with state’s rights, which was to allow states to have the power to conduct their own elections,” Hinson said. “They knew members of Congress would try to grab as much power for themselves as they could.”

Polls show a majority of Republicans continue to believe the false voter claims, baseless allegations which were pushed by former President Donald Trump and his allies in an attempt to undermine faith in the outcome.

Republican lawmakers in multiple states have been using the misinformation-fueled beliefs to justify election law changes in a number of states that could limit access to the ballot.

At the town hall, Hinson went on to accuse U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, without evidence, of trying to “steal” the election in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, where the race was decided by just six votes. Attendees broke out into boos, yelling over Hinson as she talked about the race.

“We’ve seen that happen with the attempted steal of an election here in Iowa with Mariannette Miller-Meeks. We knew Nancy Pelosi was going to try to take that seat,” Hinson said, before her voice was drowned out by attendees yelling over her.

In the 2nd District race, Democratic former state Sen. Rita Hart ultimately conceded to Miller-Meeks, a Republican, after initially requesting the U.S. House review the outcome of the election through a decades-old, established legal process. The race was one of the closest in American history.

Hinson was also asked about the prospect of more so-called “forensic audits” of the 2020 results in battleground states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, in line with the review of ballots in Arizona’s largest county. Election experts have lambasted the Maricopa County audit as biased and bizarre, saying the process was driven by chasing conspiracy theories.

In response to the question about the audits, Hinson told voters she believes states have the right to handle their own elections.

“I think each state, as I just mentioned, has a right to do what they want to do in terms of their own election integrity. If they feel there were irregularities in their elections, that’s their right to move forward with looking at those,” Hinson said. Supporters applauded her response.

Experts maintain the country’s elections are reliable, and have called the 2020 cycle “the most secure in American history.”

Kate Payne was an Iowa City-based Reporter