A judge Friday dismissed a lawsuit over uncounted ballots filed by the Democratic challenger seeking to represent an Iowa House of Representatives district that includes a portion of western Clayton County.
Democrat Kayla Koether asked Judge Scott Beattie to order election officials to count 29 mailed absentee ballots that did not have postmarks but had postal bar code markings that revealed they were mailed on time.
Incumbent Republican Michael Bergan leads Koether by nine votes in the race to represent District 55, which covers a portion of Clayton County as well as two other counties.
Beattie wrote in his ruling that the appropriate election challenge under the Iowa Constitution and law regarding a legislative seat is to the Iowa House of Representatives and not the judicial system.
Koether notified Bergan and Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate that she is contesting the election.
“There are at least 29 northeast Iowans who cast their ballots on time — in good faith — and followed the law, yet elections officials have refused to count their votes,” Koether said in a press release.
The Iowa House, currently led by Republicans, will act as a court to consider evidence and decide whether to count the ballots.
State and county election officials, including Pate, have said Iowa law doesn’t allow postal bar codes to be used to authenticate ballots.