Another free and fair election is in the books.

There were some races won on razor-thin margins and some by landslides. Others still remain too close to call. All of that comes with the territory and is part of what American elections look like.

Consider the state auditor’s race. When two Iowa counties conducted administrative recounts Thursday, the tables turned. Where Republican challenger Todd Halbur had appeared to narrowly edge out Democratic incumbent Rob Sand late Tuesday night, the recounts might tell a different story.

In double-checking election results, Des Moines and Warren counties each found discrepancies. In Des Moines County, about 800 eligible absentee votes hadn’t been counted. In Warren County, results from five precincts hadn’t been entered into the total — leaving 2,000 ballots uncounted. That led to a shift in Sand’s direction. Halbur then called for a full statewide recount of the auditor’s race.

Fair enough. That’s how elections work. We examine the process to ensure that any mistakes are caught and corrected.

Too often, people are suspicious of any election result they didn’t anticipate. There’s a reason the polls don’t always get it right. Ultimately, the decision lies in the will of the electorate, and that can’t entirely be predicted. But a surprising outcome does not equate to voter fraud. It’s time to restore faith in the elections process.

Ever since the false claims made by former President Donald Trump — and repeated by many of his supporters — suggesting fraud in the 2020 presidential race, American elections have come under scrutiny. Now, with another national election under our belts, it’s time to put those false allegations to rest. The claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election have been rejected and debunked by multiple courts, state governments and members of Trump’s own former administration.

In both 2020 and 2022, a veteran Republican secretary of state was at the helm in Iowa, and high voter turnout brought victories for GOP candidates in several high-profile races in both years. Secretary of State Paul Pate has been diligent in maintaining the integrity of the process in Iowa.

Some safeguards include:

• Our voting is done on paper ballots — and there’s no hacking a paper ballot.

• Voting tabulators are not connected to the internet.

• Post-election audits take place in randomly selected precincts in all 99 counties following the election. A bipartisan team hand counts the ballots to ensure they match the totals from the vote tabulators. The audits consistently produce a 100% match.

Maybe your favorite candidates won this year, and maybe they didn’t. Either way, we must accept the outcome of the election and move on with confidence that the American elections system continues to be one of integrity.

Dubuque Telegraph-Herald

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