It’s possible the outcome of a legislative race in the Sioux City area won’t be decided ’til January. The election results that were certified by the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors indicate Representative Wesley Whitead, a Democrat from Sioux City, defeated Republican challenger Jeremy Taylor — by 60 votes.
But a mixup in absentee ballots complicates things. One-hundred-22 voters in two legislative districts in Woodbury County received the wrong ballots in their absentee ballot envelop. Deputy Secretary of State Linda Langenberg says the question is how many of those 122 ballots were for the race that’s so close.
"That will have to be determined and I think that’s why a recount was requested in the Taylor/Whitead race," Langenberg says. If the mixed-up ballots could have made a difference, one of the candidates can contest the outcome of the election.
"A contest of an election actually goes to the House of Representatives and generally a bipartisan, three-member tribunal is appointed to determine the outcome of the contest," Langenberg says. The entire House of Representatives could be asked to determine the winner, too, but Langenberg says that’s not even the final step.
"If the answer isn’t satisfactory, it could actually be taken on into district court," she says. Local election officials will recount the ballots in this Sioux City race. Recounts are expected in three other legislative races, but those races do not seem to be headed to a longterm impasse. One involves state Representative Dolores Mertz, a Democrat from Ottosen, who defeated Republican Stephen Richards of Algona by 40 votes according to the tally certified by the local Board of Supervisors last week.
In the Cedar Rapids area, state Representative Art Staed, a Democrat, lost to Republican challenger Renee Schulte by 14 votes. The senate race that’s the subject of a recount involves incumbent Jeff Danielson, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, and Republican challenger Walt Rogers. Danielson was ahead by 13 votes in the final tally certified by the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors.