NEWS RELEASE: Linn County Auditor Joel D. Miller Concerned by Lack of Young People Voting

October 9, 2020

LINN COUNTY, IA – October 9, 2020 – Linn County Auditor Joel D. Miller’s office has noticed a disturbing trend amongst early voters – young voters are not responding.

For example, of the first 5,580 ballots returned by mail or early in-person voting, only 578 of those ballots came from voters between 18-34 years of age.

Examples such as this have Auditor Miller concerned young people may not be voting or registering to vote. Typically, presidential election years show an increase in voter registrations. However, due to COVID-19, many door to door efforts to register people have not occurred.

The deadline for early voter registration is October 24. Voters may register at the Iowa DOT website https://mymvd.iowadot.gov/Account/Login or with a paper form from the Auditor’s Office. After registering, voters will just need to provide a valid state ID or Voter ID card when voting at the polls.

If voters miss the October 24 deadline, they can still register leading up to and on election day by providing a valid form of ID and proof of residency. Young voters may have trouble at the polling places on election day when they cannot produce the correct documentation to vote. Acceptable forms of documentation can be found on the Secretary of State’s website https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterinformation/voterIDfaq.html#2.

The Auditor’s Office does not record nor track racial demographics.

Visit elections or calling 319-892-5300, option 1. Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

Linn Auditor encourages eligible felons to register to vote

September 22, 2020

Last week, the Linn County Auditor’s Office mailed a letter to 4,561 felons thought to be eligible to register to vote in Linn County based upon the Governor’s recent executive order. Anecdotal replies to our Office from the recipients of this letter are encouraging.

In Iowa, felons’ rights to vote can be confusing. Please reach out to Election Services at 319-892-5300 option 1 or email Election Services if you have any questions.  Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

Plan on encountering unmasked voters in Linn County on Election Day

September 21, 2020

About a week ago, I raised a ruckus when I posted on social media that masks will not be required for citizens voting on Election Day.  I didn’t make this up as it came from an Iowa Secretary of State training session on 8/20/2020.  KCRG-TV aired a story in which I stated the same, and the next day, we lost a half dozen precinct election officials.

We can and we will require masks to be worn when early/absentee voting is underway at our satellite polling places because in-person early/absentee voting is NOT a constitutionally protected right.

So when is the best time to go to the polls on Election Day to avoid unmasked voters?  Based upon my projections, about one voter per minute is going to arrive at the polls.  Of course, that’s an average.

We know from past elections that about 50% of citizens vote at the polls between 7am-3pm, and the other 50% vote from 3pm-9pm.  We also know that mid-morning, i.e, after 8am, may be the best time to avoid other voters.

Nothing is normal about this election and I still stand by advising you to vote-by-mail.  If you cannot or will not do that, then vote in-person (and curbside/drive through) at one of our satellites … especially if your goal is to avoid unmasked voters.

Of course, if you think I’ve made an error in my projections or you want an explanation on the numbers, please reach out to me.

Yes, we will be offering face masks to all persons entering a polling place on Election Day, but we cannot require persons to wear them.

Do plan on encountering unmasked voters at the polls on Election Day … because you will.  Joel D Miller — Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

Iowa Supreme Court denies Linn Auditor’s and Teig’s appeals

September 17, 2020

Justice denied.

Posted by Joel D Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

Appeal020 Order Denying Application 091620.pdf

Pate’s consumer fraud complaint against Miller resolved

September 11, 2020

Today, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller (no relation) issued a reply to Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s allegation that I violated Iowa’s Consumer Fraud Act. AG Miller will not be proceeding with an investigation per the reasons included in the letter.

I do admit that I am guilty of trying to make voting easier while maintaining the integrity of system. I am not guilty of anything more. Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

Pate letter 9.11.2020 fnl.pdf

AG Miller Letter 8 25 20.pdf

Gookin analysis 8 25 20.pdf

NEWS RELEASE: Action steps following prefilled absentee mailer decision

August 27, 2020

Per my previous post, i.e., Thornhill grants temporary injunction, here is the follow up news release. If you have questions, concerns, or comments, please send them to Auditor Miller.  I will be monitoring LiveChat from time to time this evening at https://direct.lc.chat/11882391/ , which is another way to reach me.

Unfortunately, the County’s phone system is still out of service due to the Derecho and I will not be granting any on camera interviews until tomorrow afternoon. Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

For Immediate Release

August 27, 2020

Action Steps Following Absentee Mailer Decision

LINN COUNTY, IA – August 27, 2020 – The Linn County Auditor’s Office acknowledges the August 27, 2020 court decision involving the Republican National Committee et al vs. Joel Miller.

Absentee Ballot Request Forms

In accordance with the decision, the Linn County Auditor’s Office will be voiding each Linn County absentee request form which was prefilled with voter information. Absentee request forms from other organizations will continue to be considered valid, unless the application lacked any required information. As before, the Auditor’s Office will notify voters of incomplete applications.

The Linn County Auditor’s Office will mail a new absentee ballot request form and return envelope to each impacted voter in mid-September. In addition, the Secretary of State will be sending separate absentee request forms to all voters in the next few weeks. Voters may also access a new request form at LinnCounty.org/Vote.

Voters only need to submit one request form. However, voters should rest assured that even if they submit multiple requests, they will only receive one ballot. The Auditor’s Office keeps track of every submitted request, but it only allows one ballot per person. That is, one voter = one ballot.

In accordance with state law, the Auditor’s Office will mail ballots starting Monday, October 5. Voters have until 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 24 to submit absentee request forms.

Voting Options

Voters may choose to vote using the following voting options:

Election Day Voting

Election day polling places will be open. Note that due to COVID-19 and the derecho storm, many polling locations will change. The Linn County Auditor’s Office will be publishing the November 3, 2020 polling places within the next few days. Each registered voter household will receive a postcard indicating their updated polling location in early October.

In-person Early Voting

The Linn County Auditor’s Office will offer early, in-person voting opportunities at Lindale Mall and at 823 3rd St SW in Cedar Rapids across from the Linn County Public Service Center. Early voting will begin October 5. Exact times will be distributed to the media in the next week.

Mailing Absentee Ballots

Absentee voters may return their ballot by mail. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before Monday, November 2, 2020 in order to be counted.

Drop Boxes

Drop boxes are in place as an alternative to mailing absentee ballots. The Linn County Auditor’s Office has four secure drop boxes for voters to deposit their absentee ballot request forms and ballots. These drop boxes are on 24/7 video security and contents are collected by a bi-partisan Republican and Democrat team each weekday. The drop boxes are located at:

o Linn County Public Service Center, 935 2nd St. SW, Cedar Rapids

o Marion Hy-Vee, 3600 Business Highway 151, Marion

o Edgewood Hy-Vee, 5050 Edgewood Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

o Johnson Avenue Hy-Vee, 1843 Johnson Ave NW, Cedar Rapids

The drop boxes will be open until 9 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

Auditor Miller is continuing to consult with legal counsel regarding his options.

The Auditor’s Office acknowledges the confusion and concerns that voters may have. Questions regarding absentee voting may be answered by visiting elections. or calling 319-892-5300, option 1. Phone service may be temporarily unavailable. As of Thursday, August 27, the Linn County Auditor’s Office phone is not working due to the impact of the derecho storm. As a reminder, Linn County offices are open by appointment only due to COVID-19. To schedule an appointment with the Auditor’s Office, call the number above or email elections ###

Thornhill grants temporary injunction

August 27, 2020

Judge Thornhill granted a temporary injunction in RNC v Miller. Press release from the Office of Linn County Auditor coming soon. Joel D Miller – Linn County Auditor

Thornhill Order Granting Injunction.PDF

Election officials should baseline the USPS now

August 5, 2020

One of my biggest fears with the upcoming general election is that my office mails out 80,000 to 100,000 absentee ballots on October 5th, and 10,000 of them are not returned in time to be counted.

Who will handle the majority of absentee ballots returned to my office?  The United States Postal Service.

A few days ago, Jim Conklin reached out to me on LinkedIn and shared the video below:

On 8/4/2020, I started driving to the 18 post offices in Linn County that serve Linn County’s voters.  Purpose:  To set a baseline so we can measure if the cost cutting and other measures undertaken by the USPS between now and 11/3/2020 may have a detrimental effect on the return of absentee ballots via the USPS.

My initial baseline is posted here.  I will continue to provide updates as they occur on this post.  And then we can answer questions like:

When should I mail my absentee ballot?  Should I bypass the USPS and use one of the drop boxes provided by the Auditor’s Office?  Should the Auditor’s Office install additional drop boxes in “slow mail” areas?

Your comments and suggestions are welcome.  My decision to baseline the USPS was based upon concerns expressed by Mr. Conklin and others.  Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

 

 

Supervisor Oleson not running for re-election

August 3, 2020

It’s official. Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson will not be running for re-election in the upcoming general election – see link below. Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

2222_001.pdf

Joint statement from Linn & Johnson County Auditors regarding letter from RNC

July 27, 2020

Joint statement from Linn and Johnson County Auditors regarding letter from Republican National Committee (RNC)

Iowans have a hard-earned time-tested tradition of holding fair and free elections, uncontaminated by the efforts of outside pressure groups. That unique tradition is a part of what we sometimes call the “Iowa Way.”  Consistent with that tradition, our offices are making every effort to give active voters in Linn and Johnson Counties all reasonable options to assure that every vote counts and can be cast in the safest ways possible.

An important part of those safe-voting efforts has been to send, in sealed envelopes to their last known addresses, to every active voter—regardless of party affiliation—absentee ballot request forms with correct voter identification information included on the forms, so that they can be returned to our offices, where we serve as the County Commissioners of Elections, so that absentee ballots can be issued to those voters starting on October 5th.

It is extremely concerning that the Republican National Committee is placing pressure on Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate to impede our efforts to make voting easier and safer for Iowans during a pandemic.  This is as wrong as it is unprecedented.  Secretary Pate would be wise to ignore this pressure to contaminate Iowa’s storied fair election processes.  Let him perform his job, too, consistent with the Iowa Way, unsullied by outside influences.   Signed (and posted) by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor and Travis Weipert – Johnson County Auditor

 


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