PLEASANT VALLEY TOWNSHIP, IOWA (November 29, 2023) — Good Evening Board of Supervisors.
I write to you tonight as the recount for the PV [Pleasant Valley] District 6 race has taken place and Iowa law was not followed during this recount. We have hired attorney, Alan Ostergren, to oversee this matter for Jameson Smith. He has already sent a letter to the Scott County Auditor and the Scott County Attorney and is attached for you to view here. (Please note that this was a draft form and I believe he took the word "two" out of this letter.) You are welcome to get the final letter sent from the Scott County Auditor or Scott County Attorney.
I was personally present at the recount both yesterday and today.
Yesterday- Kristina Lyons, Assistant Scott County Attorney, was present at the start of the recount and gave specific instructions to the recount board. She explained that because the election on November 7th used Optical Scanners and write-in votes can only be counted if the voting target next to the write-in line is darkened. (This is in accordance with Iowa Code and also outlined in the recount booklet that the recount board was presented with.)
Today, the count began with absentee box 14-A. Cyndi Diercks objected to a ballot where the target was NOT marked. The other 2 members of the recount board stated it is the intent of the voter so therefore it should be counted and gave this vote to Tracey Rivera. Mark Smith also made the comment that this had happened several times yesterday and was counted. He made a comment regarding there is no purpose of a hand recount if we're just going to look at what the voting machines look at and they need to look at the intent. (Actually the purpose of a recount is to verify that the voting machines are correct!) Iowa Code was read out loud and Ms Diercks even showed the other 2 members where the book was specific for this rule. The 2 members just completely disregarded the rules and law of this recount. Several people were present and witnessed these events including but not limited to: James Martin, Diana Holst, Sheriff Brian Carsten, Auditor Kerri Tompkins, and several other members of the public.
A recount board is not there to determine the intent of the voter, they must follow the law and the instructions given. It was requested that Ms Lyons come back to the recount today and clarify. By the time she arrived, Mark Smith and Arun Pillutia said the recount was completed ending in a tie and left refusing to wait for Ms Lyon. Furthermore, when Ms Diercks arrived this morning with several questions she wanted answered after realizing that the canvass numbers and the recount numbers in precincts B43, B41, and B33 were not balancing they started the recount again today with the understanding they would go back and address the concerns in the event it was pertinent to the outcome of the race. They both decided this was not going to happen after it was a "tie".
I am wondering what the Board of Supervisors authority is with them seeking a new certification. How can a Board of Supervisors go through and certify election results knowing that the law was not followed. I am confident that even a phone call to Mark Smith would verify that they counted ballots for Rivera that the target was not marked. I am respectfully asking that this be handled upfront to avoid a waste of tax-payer funds in a contested election proceeding.