The Iowa House has passed a bill to speed up election returns, as if getting speedy results were the main goal of the counting. The House wants to count absentee ballots before the polls open, something that is now strictly forbidden.
Don't worry about this affecting the election by giving one side a warning that the results may be close. Don't worry–it will be illegal to leak this information even though some highly political people at the courthouse will know the information on the absentee results. Don't worry even if the county auditor himself is in a tight re-election race. Having his staff counting the ballots on Monday won't allow him to be warned about his imminent defeat on Tuesday. Don't think that the people who went to jail in Ohio for rigging the recount in 2004 have any cousins in Iowa election departments.
If this is HSB 133 we're talking about (the news reports don't give the bill number) there's even less reason to worry. The bill now on the web says only quite a few party cheerleaders will get to bite early on the apple of knowledge:
The only persons who may be admitted to that room are
the members of the board,
one challenger representing each political party,
one observer representing any nonparty political organization or
any candidate nominated by petition pursuant to chapter 45 or
any other nonpartisan candidate in a city or school election appearing on the ballot of the election in progress,
one observer representing persons supporting a public measure appearing on the ballot and
one observer representing persons opposed to such measure,
and the commissioner or the commissioner's designee.
I'm sure they can keep a secret, so don't worry, be happy. Get to bed early on election night. It was a long campaign. Just be glad it's over.
But if it's really close, we still won't know about recounts or audit results. We'll still have to wonder. So what's the point for democracy? Early bedtimes? Insider trading?
cross posted at http://iowavoters.org