Democrat Rita Hart, seeking a seat she did not win representing Iowa’s second congressional district, is at least being honest about what she wants: House Democrats to not just ignore, but flout Iowa state election law.
Just a couple weeks ago, the House Administration Committee chose, on a party-line vote, not to dismiss Hart’s election challenge. Democrats voted to move forward with the inquiry — which could see the replacement of Republican congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks mid-term — even though the result of her election was reached after a bipartisan count, recount, and certification process, and in spite of the fact that Hart had not even mounted a challenge in Iowa’s courts.
In lieu of accepting the results in Iowa-2, Democrats on the Administration Committee elected instead to send a set of “identical questions about the specific procedures, legal principles, and timelines that should control the course of this case” to both Hart and Miller-Meeks’s legal teams. How revealing those answers are. Hart did not challenge the results of the election in court because under Iowa state law, she lost. That’s why her brief includes this passage:
Where necessary to effectuate the will of the voters of the Second Congressional District, the Committee should therefore exercise its discretion to depart from Iowa law, and adopt counting rules that “disenfranchise the smallest possible number of voters.”
This is might-makes-right reasoning clothed in the language of democracy and enfranchisement. There is no functional difference between this ask and Donald Trump instructing election officials in Georgia to find the votes necessary for him to win the state. Hart is suggesting that House Democrats not concern themselves with the agreed-upon rules and procedures enacted by Iowa’s legislature that governed the behavior of the candidates’, their staffers and volunteers, their voters, as well as election officials and volunteers in the name of disenfranchising fewer voters, but in truth by disenfranchising the whole of the district.
If you hadn’t seen this for the naked power grab it is up to this point, Hart’s brief should leave no doubt.