DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is proposing legislation to the legislature that intends to standardize the recount timeline across all 99 counties, according to a Friday release.
This proposed legislation comes just weeks after Scott County's Iowa House District 81 race, an episode marred with controversy, had numerous recounts before an official winner was declared.
The bill provides flexibility for creating recount boards and also requires, "uniform methods for how ballots are recounted, reconciled, and reported."
“The integrity of Iowa’s elections is my top priority and this bill would help ensure we have clean, secure elections and a recount process that is uniform across the state,” Secretary Pate said in a statement. “We’ve had the opportunity to identify these areas of improvement while observing several large-scale recounts in recent years.”
The bill recommends that all counties administer official canvasses of elections on Tuesdays.
Additionally, the bill would increase recount board sizes, per a county's population. Current legislation dictates that recount boards are comprised of three members. The new bill would change the size of a recount board to five members for counties with a population between 15,000 to 49,999 people, and seven members for counties of 50,000+ residents.
“Recounts in large counties are difficult for just three people to conduct,” Secretary Pate said. “I’d like to give the recount boards more members, so the tallying of votes is more manageable and more efficient.”
Furthermore, the members of the recount boards, aside from a single designee from each candidate, would be made up of precinct election officials chosen by the judicial district's chief judge.
The proposed bill will also require that if a candidate requests a hand recount, all ballots involved will be tallied by hand and machine. Previously, candidates could request solely a machine recount in some precincts and a hand recount in others.
There will be no changes to the procedure for candidates requesting only a machine recount. In this case, only a machine recount will be conducted.
The Iowa Legislature’s 2023 general assembly kicks off on Monday, Jan. 9.
Watch more news, weather and sports on News 8's YouTube channel