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- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on the Fox News Channel program, The Ingraham Angle, that Iowa allowed 300 people in its 2nd Congressional District to vote more than once.
- The unofficial vote total in that district changed from giving a Republican the apparent win to giving the seat to a Democrat.
- A clerical error was made in the initial vote report on election night but no voter fraud existed, election officials said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) was talking on conservative commentator Laura Ingraham’s Fox News Channel show, The Ingraham Angle, on Nov. 5 about Republican claims of possible voter fraud when he referred to Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District race. Democratic Party candidate Rita Hart and Republican Party candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks were in a tight battle for the seat.
"I don’t have all the facts but I (sic) was just reported that they have allowed a little over 300 people to re-vote and now we’re behind."
"What?" Ingraham responded as McCarthy continued: "Why would all those people vote different? Yes, I don’t have all the facts. Our attorneys are rushing there, but this is what’s transforming out across America."
No one got to re-vote, election officials in Iowa said. A problem existed but it was in how one Iowa county’s elections office registered votes from one of its precincts onto a spreadsheet, said Jasper County Auditor and Elections Commissioner Dennis Parrott and Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate.
"We reported wrong results on Election Night," Parrott said, a Democrat, at a Nov. 6 news conference in Newton, Iowa. "It was human error, like a lot of things that happen."
The corrected unofficial numbers showed Hart leading by 162 votes. The totals were unofficial because individual county canvassing boards make the official counts and certification of votes the week after the election.
Parrott said his office called Pate’s when the error was discovered and that Pate’s office walked Jasper County staff through re-checking to make sure the corrected unofficial vote count was, indeed, accurate. Additionally, Pate ordered a hand-count audit of the votes before the canvasses. He said every county in the district is conducting post-election audits in randomly selected precincts to ensure accurate vote counts.
Interest in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District race between Hart and Miller-Meeks is understandable. The seat, one of several for which the Associated Press did not call an immediate winner, had been held by a retiring Democrat, Dave Loebsack, and Republicans
were eager to flip it. Miller-Meeks held a 280-vote edge on election night in the 24 counties that the district covers. But two days later, Jasper County discovered its reporting error, Pate said at the news conference where he and Parrott appeared.
"That would be the difference you’re seeing," Pate, a Republican, said. McCarthy’s offices in California and Washington, D.C., did not return calls from PolitiFact seeking comment or clarification on what he said on national television or if he had heard from Iowa elections officials.
Pate said more votes still could be eligible for the scheduled vote canvasses because they might arrive in the mail but sent on time. Or, he said, they could have been cast provisionally, which means they were made by voters knowing that their eligibility could be questioned and
ruled upon later. He said votes are verified by matching them with affidavits voters who cast them signed and whether or not the voters were registered.
"The key thing here is transparency, so you can see what happened," Pate said. The vote count is still going on, and the audit Pate ordered was to begin immediately and be done by Tuesday afternoon, when Jasper County canvasses its votes, he said.
McCarthy said that 300 voters in Iowa were allowed to re-vote to change an election outcome. That is wrong. Pate and Parrott laid out in their news conference how the state first reported votes in Miller-Meeks’ favor swung to being in Hart’s favor. No one was allowed to re-vote, Pate’s office said. And even though McCarthy couched his televised statement by saying he didn’t know all the facts, he said it anyway, and Ingraham picked up on it as though it were fact.
We rate the claim of 300 Iowans allowed to re-vote as Pants on Fire.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, on "The Ingraham Angle," Fox News Channel, Nov. 5, 2020, and Lauren Ingraham Twitter feed, Nov 6, 2020.
Press release, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, Nov. 6, 2020.
Kevin Hall, Iowa Secretary of State spokesperson, in an email to PolitiFact.
Jasper County, Iowa, Elections Commissioner Dennis Parrott, Nov. 6, 2020, news conference.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, Nov. 6, 2020, news conference.
Iowa Secretary of State’s elections result webpage.
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