FOIA: Colin Smith

October 30, 2020

After I received a FOIA from The Patriots Foundation AND a demand letter from the SoS legal counsel yesterday, I started wondering if they were related to a earlier FOIA from Colin Smith. What do you think?

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

Open Records Request to Linn County Auditor – 9.17.20 – FINAL.pdf

Demand Letter: Iowa Secretary of State

October 29, 2020

The last time I complied with a demand letter from the Iowa Secretary of State, the information I provided appeared in subsequent legal briefs filed in the Trump Campaign versus Joel Miller hearing (Case #06571EQCV095986). I’m guessing someone is getting ready to file another lawsuit. Why? Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

From: Widen, Molly [SOS] <Molly.Hammer@sos.iowa.gov>
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2020 2:05 PM
To: Miller, Joel <joel.miller@linncounty-ia.gov>
Cc: Ston…
Subject: Iowa Code §47.1(6) Demand for Documents

Good Afternoon Auditor Miller,

You are receiving this email because there was litigation in your county regarding the sending of absentee ballot requests pre-filled with voters’ information by your office. Pursuant to Iowa Code §47.1(6), please provide the following records:

  1. The voter ID, name and address of every voter that was sent a notice by your office as required by the Temporary Restraining Order in place in your county
  2. The voter ID, name and address of every voter who returned an absentee ballot request form pre-filled with their information by your office

We ask that you provide these records in an expeditious manner, but no later than November 6, 2020. It is our office’s understanding that you have created and are maintaining an Excel spreadsheet with the requested information. Providing a copy of the spreadsheet would fulfill the requirement.

Once you have compiled the requested records, please email be so I can provide you with details on how to upload the records to an sFTP.

Sincerely,

Molly M. Widen
Legal Counsel
Office of Iowa Secretary of State Paul D. Pate
Office: (515) 281-5864

Mobile: (515) 210-4634

Email: molly.widen
SERVICE · PARTICIPATION · INTEGRITY
sos.iowa.gov

FOIA: The Patriots Foundation

October 29, 2020

The last time I received a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (also known as an open records request in Iowa) or a demand letter from the Iowa Secretary of State, I was sued by the Trump Campaign and others. Today, I received a FOIA from The Patriots Foundation AND a demand letter from the SoS legal counsel.

The general election is less than five days away. What’s this all about? Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

From: Craig Robinson <craig@theiowarepublican.com>
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2020 12:05 PM
To: Miller, Joel <joel.miller@linncounty-ia.gov>
Subject: FOIA Request

Auditor Miller,

Please see the attached FOIA request.

Thanks

Craig Robinson

Linn County FOIA Request.pdf

NEWS RELEASE: Presidential General Election Reminders

October 28, 2020

Presidential General Election Reminders

Early Voting Locations; Returning & Counting Absentee Ballots; Updated Election Day Polling Locations; Safety Precautions

LINN COUNTY, IA – October 28, 2020 – The Presidential General Election is Tuesday, November 3. Linn County Auditor’s Office reminds voters of the following information for this upcoming election.

Early Voting: Lindale Mall and 823 3rd St SW

Linn County voters have the option for in-person, early voting at two locations:

· Lindale Mall through Saturday, October 31 from 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. each day.

· 823 3rd St SW (across the street from the Linn County Public Service Center) Mondays-Saturdays, including Monday, November 2. Hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Voters must present an ID when voting in-person. Curbside voting is available at both locations.

Returning Absentee Ballots

Over 5,000 voters have not returned their mailed, absentee ballots. Voters can return their absentee ballots four different ways:

1. Mail their ballot. Ballots must be postmarked by Monday, November 2.

2. Drop their ballot in the white drop box at the Linn County Public Service Center, located at 935 2nd St SW in Cedar Rapids. Ballots must be in the drop box by 9 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3.

3. Bring their ballot and envelope to an early voting location (locations listed above).

4. Take their ballot and envelope to an Election Day polling location. Absentee ballots will be ‘spoiled,’ and a replacement ballot will be issued.

Voters can track their absentee ballots on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.

Iowa law does not have any provisions nor mechanisms for a voter who has submitted a countable absentee ballot to replace that ballot with a new one for any reason, including that they changed their mind about which candidate they prefer in a race. While there are a small number of states that have such provisions, there would need to be legislation to change that in Iowa.

Counting Absentee Ballots

The Linn County Absentee and Special Voters Precinct Board (ASVP Board) will open absentee ballot envelopes on Saturday, October 31 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Linn County Public Service Center, as allowed by the Iowa Legislative Council. No ballots will be counted at that time.

Starting Monday, November 2, the ASVP Board will reconvene to continue opening absentee envelopes and begin counting ballots. The Board will continue counting absentee ballots through the evening and all day Tuesday, November 3.

The ASVP Board is a bi-partisan citizen group of Democrats and Republicans. The ASVP Board work must be done with bi-partisan pairs. For example, Democrat and Republican pairs open ballots together. Democrat and Republican pairs or groups also run the ballots through the ballot scanning machines. All ballots are kept locked and sealed throughout the ballot counting process.

The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are each allowed to send five poll watchers to view this process.

The number of returned absentee ballots is already very high, so the public is advised that full election results may be delayed until all absentee ballots received by the deadline are counted.

Updated Election Day Polling Places

On Election Day, November 3, voters will need to vote at their general election poll location. Due to COVID-19 and the derecho, many polling places have changed. The Auditor’s Office mailed a notice of updated polling places to all registered households in mid-October. To verify polling places, voters may enter their address into https://linncountyelections.org/lookup/.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Curbside voting is available at each polling location on Election Day. A majority of precinct election officials at each polling place are balanced between registered Democrats and Republicans.

Election Day Safety Precautions

The Linn County Auditor’s Office will use a number of health and security precautions on Election Day to safeguard voters and election workers, including:

· All election workers will be required to wear masks.

· All voters will be offered a free mask.

· A designated cleaning person will sanitize voting surfaces throughout the day.

· Disposable pens will be used.

· Plastic dividers will separate voting areas.

· 6-foot markers will be on the floor for social distancing.

· Hand sanitizer will be available for all voters.

To ensure safety, Linn County Sheriff’s deputies will be providing a presence at all polling locations throughout the day.

Questions regarding voter registration or absentee voting can be answered by visiting elections or calling 319-892-5300, option 1.

A calendar with the Presidential General Election deadlines is also available on Linn County’s website. Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

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 ###


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