Iowa Democrat loses race by 7 votes -- but officials refuse to count 29 absentee ballots from left-leaning county
Surprised woman facepalms (Shutterstock)

Democratic state House candidate Kayla Koether lost her race by just seven votes. But according to freelance writer Kavin Senapathy there are still 29 outstanding absentee ballots that officials are refusing to count.

"About 29 absentee ballots from left-leaning Winneshiek County weren’t counted. One of those was Liam’s, and he says his ballot was mailed ahead of deadline," tweeted Senapathy. While the ballots may have been mailed by the date, some post offices didn't postmark the ballots, so there was no verification of when the ballot was received.

"Here’s where it gets disturbing. According to @52101news (Decorah Iowa News) Winneshiek County Auditor says the 29 ballots without a postmark will NOT be included in the vote totals because of specific rules about how mailing dates may be verified," Senapathy went on. "Meanwhile, as Liam explained to me, in neighboring, right-leaning Fayette County, ballots that weren’t postmarked were “accidentally” counted. This is against policy, but the claim is that it’s too late to do anything about it. This is some rank BS."

The Courier reported that residents packed the county courthouse demanding action, but auditor Ben Steines said that they have no control over the rules or recount as those laws are state regulated.

“We wouldn’t be in this mess (if the county had the barcode system). I think this falls at your feet. You are responsible for this. People are disenfranchised because of this situation,” resident Cerrisa Snethen told Steines.

“It used to be all mail was postmarked. Today that’s not the case. It has been a fact of life knowing we cannot count certain ballots simply because they’re missing a postmark,” said Ken Kline, Iowa deputy commissioner of elections.