Absentee ballots wrongly excluded in Iowa House district 55 (updated)

“Every vote should be counted,” Democratic challenger Kayla Koether said in a statement after a recount showed her trailing Republican State Representative Michael Bergan by nine votes in Iowa House district 55. Her comments suggest Koether is preparing litigation to force the counting of 33 absentee ballots, which were mailed on time but not counted because the envelopes lacked a certain kind of postmark.

If Koether does not file suit before election results are certified on December 3, one or more of the disenfranchised Winneshiek County voters should take legal action. Election officials did not properly interpret Iowa statute when they excluded those ballots.

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Reproductive rights in peril as another Iowa Supreme Court justice retires

In a landmark ruling five months ago, the Iowa Supreme Court held that a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions violates the rights to due process and equal protection under the Iowa Constitution.

This summer Governor Kim Reynolds replaced Bruce Zager, one of the justices who joined that 5-2 majority opinion. She will soon replace a second justice who concurred. Daryl Hecht announced today that he will resign from the Iowa Supreme Court in December in order “to commit all of his energy” to battling melanoma.

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Lessons of 2018: One result provides snapshot of racism in Iowa

Second in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2018 state and federal elections.

“If only there was some explanation for why Judge [Anuradha] Vaitheswaran, who was the highest rated judge on the court of appeals, did 6% worse than her colleagues in the retention election,” Josh Hughes commented sarcastically on Twitter yesterday.

Indeed, the voting on state judges up for retention in 2018 provided a snapshot of racism in Iowa.

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Attorney challenging Jason Besler's authority in court

Des Moines attorney Gary Dickey has filed an unusual civil action charging that Jason Besler “is unlawfully holding the public office of district court judge” in Iowa’s Sixth Judicial District. In a November 1 court filing, enclosed in full below, Dickey argued that “all publicly available information” indicates Governor Kim Reynolds failed to appoint Besler within the 30-day window specified by Iowa’s constitution. Bleeding Heartland reported in September that Reynolds took no formal action to appoint Besler until four days after her authority to fill the judicial vacancy had lapsed.

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