SCOTT COUNTY, Iowa — Election officials in Scott County have been working hard since Election Day to make sure voters' voices are heard in the 2022 midterms, and they're finally done recounting ballots.
Scott County Auditor Kerri Tompkins announced the completion of the recount Friday afternoon.
“Thank you again for your patience as we worked through this process. I am very appreciative of the support of our machine vendor who assisted us,” said Tompkins in a press release.
Since Nov. 8, workers have recounted ballots not once, not twice, but three times. Part of this is because Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate called on the county to conduct an administrative recount on Nov. 10.
The recount began on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the Scott County Administrative Building. The process began with poll workers recounting the ballots with machines. However, they had to recount those ballots again because they noticed 19 were counted twice.
Workers continued the count on Friday.
"What we are doing today is taking the hand count and confirming it with the machine," said Tompkins on Friday.
It's a tedious task to recount these ballots.
"We're on your side, we want your vote to count," said Barb Petrie, one of the seven poll workers who counted ballots on Friday. "It's important to us."
"We were here to make sure that every count, every vote in Scott County was counted and counted for the right person," said William Davis, who has run for office before. "I would say there are about five people watching the machine to make sure that it's accurate."
"Assuming everything matches, which is the goal, then we will upload those again to the state will work with them tonight, get everything uploaded, and then we'll have the canvass next week to finalize our election here in Scott County," said Tompkins.
Another goal is to make sure there are no mistakes in this third recount.
"Anytime human beings are involved, you're going to have errors," said William 'Bill' Davis. "That's why we check things and recheck and recheck and make sure things balance."
This counting proves a point, not only to the election workers but to the voters themselves.
"When somebody tells you their vote doesn't count, point something like this out," said Davis.
The Scott County canvass of votes will take place on Monday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. The Iowa Secretary of State's Office won't certify the results until Dec. 5.
What about the race for Iowa House District 81?
On election night, it appeared that Republican Luana Stoltenberg had won the race by just 29 votes against Democrat Craig Cooper. Candidates are still waiting for the results, but the Iowa Secretary of State's website reports, as of Friday afternoon, that Cooper is leading by just six votes.
Despite the roller coaster of emotions over the past week, both candidates remain confident in the outcome.
"I am confident that I still won the race," Stoltenberg said before the recount finished Friday. "I don't have numbers to prove it, but you know what? When you go through all the emotions ... but I still feel like we won. I really do. Whether we win by the numbers or not, we still won it because I met so many amazing people."
"I look forward to it," Cooper said. "It's not just confidence. Like I want to do it, I want to represent the people of House District 81. I think I would make a good representative for them and would be open to their needs and transparent."
Last week, election officials announced 470 ballots were not added to the official total. After Tuesday's recount, machines got jammed, which caused the 19 ballots to be counted twice. A new outcome in this election could be seen after this recount.
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