Reynolds says ‘every legal vote’ must be counted in presidential race

By: - December 10, 2020 2:09 pm

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference Dec. 3, 2020, at Iowa PBS. (Screen shot from Iowa PBS)

Echoing President Trump’s assertion that “every legal vote” must be counted in the 2020 election, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday that Iowa didn’t have the opportunity to join a lawsuit that seeks to delay certification of the election results.

The lawsuit, filed by Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday, alleges Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia made unconstitutional changes to their laws prior to the 2020 election, according to the Wall Street Journal. Paxton alleges the states violated their own election laws by changing voting procedures to process mail-in ballots.

Election experts have said the lawsuit has little chance of success. Republican attorneys general from 18 other states joined an amicus brief to show their support of the legal action.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, was not asked to join the amicus brief, Reynolds said, during an interview on WHO-Radio News. Miller’s office confirmed that on Thursday.

“I had no knowledge of it whatsoever,” Reynolds said, referring to the lawsuit’s filing. “We were never given the opportunity.”

In response to the lawsuit, Democratic attorneys general from 23 territories and states filed their own response supporting the battleground states. Miller said he was asked by them to join their amicus brief. He asked Reynolds for her approval and she declined.

As part of an agreement, Miller is required to ask the governor for her permission to enter an out-of-state lawsuit when the state of Iowa is the plaintiff. The agreement formed in 2019 as a way for Miller to protect the powers of the attorney general’s office after the Legislature tried to restrict them.

“I support this brief for its primary arguments: One, the electors clause of the U.S. Constitution provides no basis to second-guess state courts in their interpretation of state law; and two, the states’ common-sense measures taken in response to the pandemic did not introduce widespread fraud,” Miller said in a statement.

Reynolds said Iowans have been calling her office to ask about Iowa joining the lawsuit. She said her office has contacted the Republican Attorneys General Association and given them her contact information so she can have the opportunity to weigh in on future legal actions.

While Reynolds said Iowa’s election results are accurate, she said that in other states officials need to ensure “every legal vote is counted.”

She said state officials shouldn’t be hesitant to be transparent about their election processes. “The American people deserve a fair and transparent election and one that’s accountable,” Reynolds said.

Rita Hart, the Democratic challenger in Iowa’s historically-competitive 2nd Congressional District, is formally contesting the results of this year’s 2nd District race to the U.S. House. Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks narrowly beat Hart by six votes, according to Iowa’s certified election results.

Reynolds said Hart is appealing the results through a “partisan political process” and said she does not support it. “We could see Nancy Pelosi silence the voice of Iowans,” Reynolds said.

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