Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks registered to vote at state Sen. Chris Cournoyer’s house in LeClaire on the last day for pre-registration this year, then voted in Scott County the day before the election.
The Scott County Auditor’s office confirmed in response to an information request that Miller-Meeks is registered at the Great River Road address in LeClaire that is also the three-bedroom home of Cournoyer and her family, and that Miller-Meeks’ address was last changed on Oct. 24.
That Oct. 24 date is important because it was the last day you could pre-register to vote in Iowa before the 2022 election. Doing so then would have given others the least amount of time to discover where in Scott County she sought to vote. Doing a same-day registration after that date would have required Miller-Meeks to show proof of residency for her new address.
A spokesperson for Miller-Meeks’ congressional office simply confirmed that the Great River Road address is one of her residences now. Cournoyer did not respond to attempts to get a comment or clarification on the situation.
In several press interviews in the weeks leading up to the 2022 election, Miller-Meeks said that she was still living in Ottumwa, which is now outside of the new 1st Congressional District she ran in and won, but that she now had a “residence” in Scott County. For congressional candidates, you legally do not have to live in the district you’re running for.
“The new district drew Miller-Meeks’ home county, Wapello, into the 3rd Congressional District. She said she and her husband, Curt, kept their home in Ottumwa and she now has a second residence in LeClaire,” the Quad-City Times reported in October.
“I live in Ottumwa with my husband Curt, and hold a residency in Le Claire,” Miller-Meeks wrote in a candidate profile in the Des Moines Register.
“She now has a home in LeClaire” is how WQAD reported on Miller-Meeks’ residence.
While the Scott County Auditor’s office couldn’t confirm yet individual voter history for 2022, Miller-Meeks tweeted the day before the election that she had just voted, while standing outside the Scott County elections office’s building.
“I was overjoyed to be able to cast my ballot today for the great Gov. Reynolds, Sen. Grassley, and all of the incredible Republican team,” she said in a short video she tweeted on Nov. 7.
Tomorrow is Election Day! Be sure to get out and VOTE 🗳!
Find your polling location here: https://t.co/IyccedNAsW pic.twitter.com/swXEOxmcnR
— Dr. Miller-Meeks (@millermeeks) November 7, 2022
Cournoyer and Miller-Meeks served together for two years in the Iowa Senate and are good friends.
From social media posts over the past year, it appears that Cournoyer’s two teenage sons live with her in the Great River Road house that has three bedrooms.
Miller-Meeks’ registration at Cournoyer’s house may raise fresh questions about Iowa Senate Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver faced significant scrutiny this year for claiming to live at an apartment in Grimes despite his family remaining at their Ankeny house and news reporting that showed little water was used at the apartment.
However, unlike Miller-Meeks, Whitver did not vote at all in 2022 at his claimed new Grimes address, despite voting in nearly every election prior. That may have been an attempt to avoid a claim of voter fraud if he had voted at the disputed address.
Whitver had to reside in his district for the state legislature while Miller-Meeks does not for a congressional district. Miller-Meeks, however, did not need to vote in the new district, though she did win her past race by a mere six votes.
Cournoyer allowing Miller-Meeks to establish residency and register to vote at her house could bring more attention to the culture of the Iowa Senate Republicans, and whether the caucus is developing a habit of playing it fast-and-loose with Iowa election laws—or at the very least, the perception of them.
Those same Republicans have hammered away at “election integrity” in recent years as they passed more restrictive voting laws to combat nearly-nonexistent voter fraud in Iowa.
“I have serious concerns about how elections were conducted in some states and outraged at abuses of the election systems in those states,” Miller-Meeks wrote on Jan. 5, 2021. “Such abuses undermine election integrity and trust in the system of that state … It is why, as a state senator, I voted for changes to our election law that were implemented in the summer of 2020. I supported this legislation so that Iowans could have trust and confidence in their election system and that ballots would be legal and secure.”
by Pat Rynard
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