Editors, National Review
Asking legislators to overturn elections is back in fashion again — if you’re a Democrat.
Democrat Rita Hart is petitioning House Democrats to reverse the election of Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks by the people of Iowa’s second district to represent them in the House. The party-line vote to hear Hart’s belated election contest is a revealing blot on the same caucus that just passed a massive expansion of federal power over voting, elections, and political speech, also on a party-line vote.
Miller-Meeks led by 282 votes when the counting was done on Election Night, but Iowa law allowed mail-in ballots to arrive late if they were postmarked by Election Day, dropping her lead to 47. It shrank to just six votes after the recount was completed at the end of November. Close, but final results sometimes are — which is precisely why we should want elections to be secure and transparent.
Hart could then have gone to court in Iowa, but rather than use the proper legal channels, she decided to wait two months and go instead to the Democratic majority in the House to overrule the recount. She has been represented in this effort by Marc Elias, the Democratic Party’s chief election lawyer, who is essentially asking his own clients to rule in his current client’s favor. The Des Moines Register called in December for Hart to drop her challenge and concede once she refused to subject her challenges to the scrutiny of the Iowa courts.
This should all have ended four months ago, when Hart declined to present her case in court. Instead, taking a page from Donald Trump’s playbook, Hart and Elias want Congress to substitute its own political judgment for the rule of law. The House has the power to judge the election of its members, but Miller-Meeks’s lawyers argued that the House has traditionally required challengers contesting the seating of members to first go through their state’s legal process. Hart didn’t.
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