Iowa Secretary of State targeting Democratic county auditors

June 7, 2021

6/14/2021 update: On 5/28/2021, the Secretary of State (SoS) issued a 12th technical infraction (TA) to a Democratic county auditor. Thus far, 75% of the TAs known by the author to have been issued by the SoS have been issued to Democrats.

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Iowa’s current Secretary of State is targeting Iowa’s Democratic county auditors & commissioners of elections.  How did I draw this conclusion?

Fact:  Iowa has 99 county auditors – 68 are registered Republicans, 28 are Democrats, and 3 are No Party.

Fact:  The current Secretary of State has issued eleven (11) technical infractions – 6 to Democratic county auditors, 2 to the Iowa Democratic Party, and 3 to Republican county auditors.

So while Republican county auditors out number Democratic county auditors by more than two to one, the current Secretary of State issued technical infractions to Democratic county auditors at twice the rate he issued them to Republican county auditors. 

Yet, no county auditor received a technical infraction in the aftermath of the recount of votes in the Miller-Meeks v Hart recount even though errors were discovered.

And the only county to receive a technical infraction for not having enough polling places open on a recent (3/2/2021) election day was Scott County Auditor Roxanne Moritz, when it’s a poorly kept secret that the Secretary of State’s Office is fully aware of other non-compliant counties.

In Iowa, we pride ourselves on administering justice fairly.  That is not happening in our current elections environment.  Democratic county auditors are being targeted by the Secretary of State. Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections  

Iowa voter inactivations enable voter fraud

April 30, 2021

One unaddressed aspect of the Iowa Secretary of State (SoS) changing the status of voters in IVoters, our state-wide voter registration & election system, is that he elevated the status of two classes of voters in the system, i.e., he created an opportunity for voter fraud to occur during the next election.

First, he raised deceased voters from dead. Prior to the No Activity Notice (NAN) process, deceased voters’ records had been “cancelled.” The NAN process changed “cancelled” voters to “inactive” voters, which would allow someone to assume a deceased voter’s identity. Did the SoS re-cancel all of the deceased voters he inactivated?

Last, the SoS changed “pending” voters to “inactive” voters, which would allow previous pending voters to walk into an early voting site or into the polls on election day, to present an ID to become “active”, and to vote … like any other voter. A “pending” voter registration applicant is a person who has filled out a voter registration form and we cannot verify they are a US citizen with either the US Social Security Administration or the Iowa Department of Transportation.

This afternoon, I emailed a public records request to Secretary Pate. I need to understand what he did or did not do to Linn County’s voter list. | Post by Joel D Miller – Linn County Auditor

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Dear Secretary Pate:

RE: Public records request related to 2021 No Activity Notices to Voters

Recently, your office mailed out No Activity Notices (NAN) to thousands of persons in the State of Iowa.  Included in those NANs were seventeen year old citizens not eligible to vote in the 2020 general election, persons whose voter registrations were “pending” in IVoters, e.g., naturalized citizens, and deceased voters, who had been “cancelled” in IVoters.

Linn County had forty-two (42) seventeen year old citizens changed from “active” to “inactive” voters in IVoters.

Linn County had 121 voter registration applicants changed from “pending” to “inactive” in IVoters.  This action, if left unchecked, will or would allow applicants who had NOT yet been verified to be US citizens, to vote in upcoming elections because, per your Legal Counsel (4/28/2021 Zoom with Iowa election officials), “inactive voters are processed exactly the same as active voters”. (CONTINUED)

Joel D. Miller – a short biography

April 29, 2021

By Rick Smith

Joel D. Miller is the elected, long-serving county auditor in Linn County, Iowa’s second-largest county and home to the state’s second largest city, Cedar Rapids.

Miller has occupied the post since early 2007 when he won a special election to fill a vacancy. He was easily reelected in 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020.

As county auditor, Miller has advocated for better oversight of county spending; objected to no-bid contracts; questioned managers who added to their salaries by taking cash instead of using vacation; opposed the practice by some department heads of maintaining special bank accounts outside the purview of the county treasurer; and called for a limit on the number of employees who take county-owned cars home after work.

Miller’s tenure in elected office has featured an independence and a willingness to challenge the status quo. He has not been a “dutiful wallflower,” The Gazette in Cedar Rapids said of Miller in endorsing him for reelection along the way. Gazette columnist Todd Dorman has written that Miller has taken a place among the “rattlers of government cages.” In other words, other elected officials have not always agreed with him — from those in county and state government all the way to President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. (CONTINUED)

Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor | Paid for by Miller for Iowa Secretary of State Exploratory Committee (M4SOSEC) | Contributions accepted via Venmo or Zelle to Miller4IowaSOS@gmail.com

More questions: Iowa declares 294,000 as ‘inactive’ voters

April 27, 2021

While the AP received answers to some questions and an acknowledgment of some facts – see https://desmoinesregister-ia-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=10a7269da … many questions remain pertaining to Linn County’s registered voters. For example:

1. Why did the Iowa Secretary of State skip inactivating 4,100 Linn County voters who did not vote in November 2020?


2. Why were pending voters inactivated?


3. Why implement inactivations without creating the required administrative rules?


4. Why make the inactivations retroactive?

5. Is the SoS going to communicate anything to the wrongly inactivated voters? Or the next of kin of deceased voters, whose status was changed to inactivated? If yes, when?

Posted by Joel D Miller – Linn County Auditor

PRESS RELEASE: Linn County Auditor’s Statement on No Activity Mailing by Secretary of State

April 23, 2021

About 23 hours ago, I issued a Notice of Technical Infraction to the Secretary of State Paul Pate. As of 4:28pm today (4/23/2021), I have not received an acknowledgement of my email from the Secretary, his chief of staff, or his legal counsel.

Between now and the time of my Notice, we have observed changes in Linn County’s voter list, which is stored in IVoters, the statewide voter registration & elections system owned and maintained by the Office of Secretary of State. We have yet to determine whether the changes are routine maintenance and/or something nefarious.

Silence leads to conspiracy theories. Transparency leads to trust. I challenge Secretary Pate to be transparent … today.

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

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For more information, contact:

Joel Miller | Linn County Commissioner of Elections | 319-892-5333 | joel.miller

For Immediate Release:

April 23, 2021

Linn County Auditor’s Statement on No Activity Mailing by Secretary of State

LINN COUNTY, IA – August 23, 2021 – In accordance with Iowa Code §39A.6, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller has issued a Notice of Technical Infraction and Letter of Instruction to Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate.

Auditor Miller claims that the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office has incorrectly inactivated thousands of Iowa voters in a recent No Activity mailing.

Auditor Miller has identified at least three populations who were incorrectly inactivated:

· Registered voters who were 17, but not yet 18 by the November 2020 General Election day

· Pending voters

· Deceased individuals whose voting status was already cancelled – effectively sending mailers to family members that a deceased cancelled voter was now instead an inactive voter

In Linn County alone, hundreds of incorrectly inactivated voters have been identified.

Auditor Miller contends that incorrectly inactivating voters sends a chill to voters across the state. It sows distrust and uncertainty while also discouraging voters from voting.

Auditor Miller also questions whether the Secretary of State should have sent the No Activity mailer this year. Senate File 413, which was enacted in March 2021, allows the Secretary of State to send a No Activity mailer to registered voters after a General Election if they did not vote in the General Election. Generally, new laws are not retroactively implemented. The No Activity mailer should be in place for any future elections. Instead, registered voters in 2020, whether they voted or not, were inactivated by the Secretary of State’s Office.

In addition, Auditor Miller notes that the Secretary of State has not implemented administrative rules for the inactivation process nor vetted the process with any auditors, as required by law. Auditor Miller will be consulting legal counsel on this matter.

In addition to the Notice of Technical Infraction, Auditor Miller calls on Secretary Pate to immediately create a plan for notifying voters of the error and rectifying this issue.

Auditor Travis Weipert of Johnson County joins in Auditor Miller’s concerns and demands that Johnson County voters who were incorrectly inactivated be notified and re-activated. ###

Linn County Auditor issues technical infraction to Iowa Secretary of State

April 22, 2021

This afternoon, I issued a technical infraction and letter of instruction to Mr. Paul Pate, Iowa’s current Secretary of State (SoS) and the chief election official in Iowa.

Why? The SoS mailed No Activity Notices to registered voters who had not voted in the November 2020 general election, and then inactivated the voters receiving those Notices. Since the SoS did not have a duty to ask my office or other county auditors to review the list of voters to receive the No Activity Notices PRIOR to the SoS mailing the Notices, duly registered active voters in Linn County were INACTIVATED. Please read the letter to the SoS for details.

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

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From: Miller, Joel
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2021 5:17 PM
To: Pate, Paul [SOS] <Paul.Pate@sos.iowa.gov>
Cc: Widen, Molly [SOS] <Molly.Hammer@sos.iowa.gov>; Ross, Michael [SOS] (Michael.Ross@sos.iowa.gov) <Michael.Ross@sos.iowa.gov>
Subject: Notice of Technical Infraction

Good afternoon Secretary of State Pate,

Attached you will find a notice of technical infraction regarding the mailing of No Activity Notices by your office.

If you have any questions after reviewing the attached letter, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely,

Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Reply to FOIA: M. Luke Martz – Iowa Field Report – Des Moines, IA

April 16, 2021

Dear Mr. Martz:

The public records meeting the criteria you specified below are available here.  Please download them at your convenience.

Regards,

JOEL D. MILLER
County Auditor, BS, CERA
OFFICE OF LINN COUNTY AUDITOR

FOIA: M. Luke Martz – Iowa Field Report – Des Moines, IA

April 9, 2021

A while ago, I predicted that election administrators in Iowa and other parts of the USA were going to be inundated with FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests based upon Federal law and/or public records requests based upon Iowa law. Unfortunately, my prediction may be true – see below.

Currently, I am in the process of implementing a software tool to process public records requests more efficiently. One of the features supposedly includes a log of who is requesting what records, similar to the U of I’s.  Until then, I’ll post the requests on this blog. | Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

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From: Field Report Media <info@fieldreportmedia.com>
Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2021 8:16 PM
To: Miller, Joel <joel.miller@linncounty-ia.gov>
Subject: Open Records Request

To whom it may concern:

I am submitting this request under the provisions of Iowa Code Chapter 22.

Please provide all messages posted on the service known as “Basecamp” hosted by the Iowa State Association of Counties or Iowa State Association of County Auditors by Linn County Auditor Joel Miller for the previous five years. The request includes all messages from other individuals that Miller replied to and that replied to Miller during this time period.

If there is a fee for fulfilling this request, please inform me in advance of the amount. Section 22.3 says that the fee shall not exceed the actual cost of providing the service. However, I request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute to the public’s understanding of election management. As a member of the media, any relevant information gleaned from this request will be disseminated for public consumption.

The Iowa Open Records Law requires a timely response. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than 10 days, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.

If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.

Thank you for considering my request.

Sincerely,

M. Luke Martz
P.O. Box 93712
Des Moines, Iowa 50393

Miller circulating nomination papers

April 6, 2021

GREAT NEWS!   Joel Miller, 65, of Robins is still exploring a run for Iowa Secretary of State (SoS) in the June 7, 2022, Democratic Primary Election. 

NEXT STEP.  Gather 100 signatures from each of Iowa’s 99 counties on Miller’s nomination petitions. 

WHY NOW?  The filing deadline for a candidate for Secretary of State is about eleven (11) months away

WHO CAN SIGN MILLER’S NOMINATION PETITIONS?  Any resident of Iowa who is eligible to vote. 

HOW CAN YOU HELP?  You can circulate Miller’s printable nomination petitions to your county residents – see links below: 

Black Hawk residents only

Clayton County

Dallas County

Dubuque County

Johnson County

Jones County

Linn County

Polk County

Scott County

Woodbury County

ANY COUNTY nomination petition (FILL-IN the COUNTY NAME in the blank space, and print)

WHY IS MILLER EXPLORING a run for Secretary of State?

  • To make voting easy
  • To speak the truth to lies about our elections
  • To restore faith and trust in Iowa’s elections

WHEN YOU ARE THROUGH gathering signatures, please mail your signed nomination petitions to:

MILLER 4 IOWA SOS  –  375 PHAETON DRIVE – ROBINS, IA  52328

IF YOU ONLY COLLECT a couple of signatures, that’s fine.  Mail your petitions to the above address because every signature gets Miller one step closer to meeting signature requirements. 

SEND A MESSAGE TODAY by circulating Miller’s nomination petitions. 

Thanks in advance for your support! 

Paid for by Miller for Iowa Secretary of State Exploratory Committee (M4SOSEC)

Contributions accepted via Venmo or Zelle to Miller4IowaSOS@gmail.com

Iowa Election News: New legislation review – SF413

March 26, 2021

The attached pdf from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Legal Counsel summarizes each section of SF413, which was recently signed by the Governor. The key to this new legislation is communication to election administrators like me and my office, and to the public. To that end, this legislation requires county treasurers to print that the polls will be closing at 8pm on county issued property tax bills.

While printing the poll closing times on property tax bills may notify property taxpayers who receive a tax bill, it will do nothing for the taxpayers who don’t read the entire tax bill or for those who don’t receive property taxes bills.

If the State does not thoroughly notify every registered voter of the 8pm deadline – not once, but at least three times prior to the next election – I could easily see 100 to 1,000 absentee ballots not being counted in the November 2021 election because my office did not receive the ballots prior to the 8pm deadline.

SF413 seems to be specific about what I have to do and what I cannot do. So am I in violation of the new law if I take an initiative to inform my constituents/voters that the polls close at 8pm when one or more counties do not take the same initiative? Is the new standard for 98 commissioners of elections to do no more than the county commissioner with the least initiative?

SF413 looks like a race to the bottom for Iowa’s elections.  I hope I’m wrong.  Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

From: Widen, Molly [SOS] <Molly.Hammer@sos.iowa.gov>
Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2021 3:11 PM
Subject: New Legislation Review – SF413

Auditors, Deputies and Staff,

As was discussed during the ISACA spring conference, I have produced a walk-through review of Senate File 413 (SF413). Because this legislation went into effect immediately upon enactment with the signature of the Governor, it is very important that we all quickly become familiar with the language of this bill.

In order to accommodate availability to all election administrators in all 99 counties, this video is available for you to watch in the Auditor’s Portal on the Secretary of State’s website at the following location: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/video/legreviewsf413.mp4. We request that everyone watch this video and submit any questions for clarification by Friday, April 2. Based on the questions we receive, we will determine the best method for follow-up. That may involve production of a Frequently Asked Questions document or may include a more in-depth Teams meeting depending on needs reflected in your feedback.

The language of this bill is being integrated into the Election Administrator’s Handbook, and updates to those chapters are a top priority right now. We are making good progress toward meeting our goal of having the first five chapters updated and available by mid-April. Relatedly, you can expect another email regarding City–School Election materials in the very near future.

Attached is a pdf of SF413 that we have prepared to assist you in locating a particular section when referring back to the bill. It includes a summary of each section in the margin, and we believe it would be very useful for you to print this document and follow along while watching this video. You are encouraged to make your own notes on this document to make it an even better resource for yourself moving forward.

As I mention throughout the recording, there are some sections of this legislation that will require administrative rules to establish statewide standards and consistent implementation. Because this bill has gone into effect, there is no transition period for the administrative rules process to be completed prior to needing to run elections under these new laws. We understand that vacancy elections are already in the works in some areas, and others may crop up on any given day. If an election is called in your county, please reach out to us so that we can work through implementation of SF413 with you.

If you still have questions after watching the video in its entirety and reviewing the attached version of the bill, then you may submit questions for follow-up by next Friday, April 2. When formatting your questions, please keep in mind that I will not answer questions about hypothetical scenarios. While I understand that election officials are planners, our office is prepared to assist you in navigating real world scenarios and issues as they come up. Asking questions regarding hypothetical fact patterns can lead to confusing, incomplete answers, so I would ask that you stick to clarifying questions about the state of the law today. You can submit your questions at the following link. If you have more than 5 follow-up questions, you may submit the form more than once.

Thank you for taking time to apprise yourselves of these new requirements in your role as an election administrator. We look forward to receiving your questions for follow-up by next Friday, April 2.

Sincerely,

Molly M. Widen – Legal Counsel – Office of Iowa Secretary of State


SF413 Redline.pdf


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