Archive for the ‘Outreach’ Category

NEWS RELEASE: Voting Rights Restoration Process Letters Mailed to Eligible Linn County Residents

April 10, 2019

For more information, contact:

Rebecca Stonawski

Deputy Commissioner of Elections

319-892-5300, ext. 1


For Immediate Release

April 10, 2019

Voting Rights Restoration Process Letters Mailed to Eligible Linn County Residents

LINN COUNTY, IA – April 10, 2019 – On March 12, 2019, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced a simplified process for felons to apply to have their voting rights restored. Linn County Election Services mailed a letter today to approximately 3,000 Linn County residents who have completed their probation or parole, informing them of this opportunity to regain their right to vote.

The letter includes a copy of the Application for Restoration of Voting Rights and an envelope addressed to the Office of the Governor. Those who submit the application and receive a certificate of restoration from the Governor may then register to vote.

Individuals who discharged their sentences on or before July 4, 2005 had their voting rights automatically restored by Executive Order 42 and do not need to use this application process.

This new application process is not the same as the constitutional amendment that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds pushed for this legislative session. That constitutional amendment aimed for an automatic process to restore felons’ voting rights. That measure failed in the Iowa Senate.

For more information about applying for restoration of voting rights, contact the Governor’s office at 515-281-5211 or visit

For information on how to register to vote once eligible, contact Linn County Election Services at 319-892-5300, option 1 or visit


Sample ballot mailer appreciated

October 8, 2018

Over the last week, my office has been on the receiving end of some negative comments about the sample ballot and voter information mailed via the USPS to the 90,500 households in Linn County. As usual, some of my opponents are trying to score points with various people by portraying that this mailer was a bad idea.

The facts are:

1> A bunch of people decided to NOT read and/or did not comprehend the letter that accompanied the mailer with instructions about the sample ballot;

2> A bunch of people either did not see or ignored the word SAMPLE printed on both sides of the sample ballot;

3> About 4,000 voters returned absentee ballot request forms (ABRF) to us from our mailer, who either ignored the ABRFs from candidates and PACs, or never received ABRFs before our mailing; and

4> About 20 voters who returned the ABRFs were not registered to vote so we reached out to them to get them registered to vote.

Could we do better? Yes. The next time we will:

1> Ensure the word SAMPLE is much darker on the sample ballot;

2> Insert postcard size ABRFs into the mailer instead of providing envelopes; and

3> Print the sample ballots on colored paper.

My apologies to any voter who did not understand that the sample ballot was NOT an official absentee ballot to be voted, and returned it to us. The preceding three items should reduce the chance of that occurring again.

My apologies to any voter who did not understand what we wrote on the letter included in the sample ballot mailer. We are open to suggestions on the wording.

Overall, the sample ballot mailer has been a great initiative by Election Services and one that I may repeat again in the future.

The hand written note in the attachment reflects our intent. It reads, “I appreciated getting the sample ballot. It is nice to see everyone who will be on the ballot before entering the booth!” – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Sample ballot appreciation 10-8-2018_Redacted.pdf

Elections should not be pop quizzes

September 26, 2018

How many times have you entered the voting booth not knowing who you were going to vote for? Yes, you might have picked out your favorite for president or governor, but what about the other candidates, judges, and issues on the ballot?

Elections should not be pop quizzes!

With that in mind, starting today and ending later this week, every occupied household in Linn County should receive a letter from Linn County Election Services containing information about the upcoming election, two absentee ballot request forms for ballots to be delivered to you at home, and a sample of the ballot citizens will see when voting early/absentee or at the polls. The ballot has been customized for the citizens residing at the address specified on the envelope, BUT IT WILL NOT WORK WITH THE VOTING MACHINES AT THE POLLS ON ELECTION DAY.

If you routinely vote, you will notice two changes on the ballot: (1) straight party voting has been eliminated; and (2) candidates for each office are listed in the following order: Libertarian, Republican, Democratic, NPPO (non-political party organizations), and nominated by petition.

The Iowa Legislature eliminated straight party voting when they approved and the governor signed the Voter ID law in 2017.

I decided to list the Libertarian candidates first based upon my duty to run fair and impartial elections. The Libertarian Party has likely never been listed first anywhere. Ever.

So do your homework. Pay attention to the ovals you mark on the ballot. And vote for as many or for as few candidates as you like. And vote like your future depends on who you vote for, because it does.

I hope you find the information and the sample ballot helpful. I encourage you to use the forms to request a ballot at home if that is more convenient for you.

Elections should not be pop quizzes. And if you review your sample ballot when you receive it, they won’t be. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Sample ballot included in Linn County household mailer.pdf

Linn County Household Mailer with Absentee Ballot Request Forms_20180907.pdf

Upcoming city candidate forums – an opportunity to engage candidates

October 10, 2017

Here is a link to a list of city candidate forums to be held in Linn County – If you are aware of additional forums or you spot errors/omissions in the list, please email me. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

2017 State of the County (Linn) luncheon

April 19, 2017

Thank you Linn County League of Women Voters for hosting the 2017 State of the County (Linn) luncheon! It was well organized, well attended, a credit to your organization, and a benefit to the community.

You can view the raw video of the speeches here and/or you can read my speech in the attachment. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

State of the County 4-19-2017 v4.docx

State of the County teaser

April 19, 2017

Linn County’s annual State of the County luncheon is today and Board of Supervisors Chair Brent Oleson invited me to speak on the elections legislation awaiting the Governor’s signature. The segment below is a preview of what I will be covering in my presentation today and the attachments contain some of the slides I will be referencing.

I hope you can join us today at 11:30am at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Presentation by Auditor Joel D. Miller at the State of Linn County Luncheon at 11:30am on Wednesday, April 19th, at the Hotel at Kirkwood hosted by the Linn County League of Women Voters

Let’s ponder the Elections Modernization & Integrity Act also known as the Voter ID Act and the Voter Suppression Act.

What problem does the new law solve? What will be the cost? And how will it affect you?

If you are in the habit of voting by mail, the Auditor’s Office will no longer be able to accept your request for an absentee ballot greater than 120 days prior to an election. That means, if a general election was held on November 7th of this year, you could not submit your absentee ballot request to the Auditor’s Office prior to July 7th. In addition, unless you are living overseas, the Auditor’s Office cannot mail out your absentee ballot until 29 days before the election, i.e., not before October 9th.

And further, we cannot mail out absentee ballots after October 27th, i.e., within 10 days of the election. My advice: sign-up for reminders from the Elections Office and request an absentee ballot as soon as possible, but not sooner than 120 days prior to the election.

Election Law Changes.pptx

Paved roads, sealed roads, gravel roads

April 3, 2017

Tomorrow, April 4th, the Linn County Board of Supervisors will conduct their annual tour of roads in the unincorporated areas of the County. Ride along with the Board and employees of the County Engineer’s Office. For reservations, call the number below. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

From: Hayden, Beverly
Sent: Monday, April 03, 2017 8:36 AM
Subject: Linn County Board of Supervisors Agenda 4-4



9:00 A.M.



PUBLIC COMMENT: 5 Minute Limit per Speaker

This comment period is for the public to address topics on today’s agenda.

The Board will depart from the Jean Oxley Public Service Center for the annual Linn County roads tour.




For questions about meeting accessibility or to request accommodations to attend or to participate in a meeting due to a disability, please contact the Board of Supervisors office at 319-892-5000 or at bd_supervisors.

4-4 Board of Supervisors Agenda.pdf

State of the County speeches

April 21, 2016

Unable to attend Linn County’s 11th Annual State of the County luncheon on 4/20/2016?  You can view a video of the speeches here and/or read my speech here or Supervisor Roger’s speech here.  -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor.

Pints & Politics: April 28th Edition

April 15, 2016


Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

From: Special Events []
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 4:43 PM
To: Anna Wilcox
Subject: Pints & Politics: April Edition

You are invited to join us again for Pints & Politics. Registration is up and available for the April Edition, have you registered yet?

As always, Gazette political reporter James Q. Lynch and opinion columnists Todd Dorman and Lynda Waddington will discuss their thoughts and answer your questions.

Visit the education table and connect with The Linn County Auditor’s office to learn how to run for office, register to vote and request an absentee ballot. Don’t miss out on our special ballot and cast your vote.

Hosted at The C.S.P.S Hall, sponsored by ITC Midwest, this freewheeling discussion takes place in a social, happy hour atmosphere.

Seating is limited so register today for your FREE ticket!

5:00 pm- Light Snacks and Cash Bar

5:30 pm- Program begins

6:15 pm- Break (Grab another Pint!)

7:00 pm- Program Ends


The Gazette

Special Events
500 3rd Avenue SE Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401

office: 319.3988345


Bill passes making overseas military voting easier

March 14, 2016

Gov Branstad signing HF2147 3-10-2016

On Thursday, March 10th, I attended the HF2147 bill signing ceremony in the Governor’s Office (I’m standing next to the Iowa Commander of the American Legion in the white hat).  This bipartisan legislation is great news for Iowans stationed and residing overseas.  I was honored to be invited to attend this ceremony.  -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

MEDIA RELEASE 3/14/2016 – DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate applauds the Iowa Legislature and Governor Terry Branstad for making it easier for Iowa’s overseas military members and citizens to vote, and ensuring their votes are counted. The legislation, House File 2147, passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Branstad Thursday morning. 
The bill gives Iowans serving or visiting overseas an extra 30 days to request, receive and return special absentee ballots, extending the time from 90 days to 120 days prior to an election. 
“We should do everything possible to make sure the people defending our right to choose our elected representatives are also given the opportunity to cast their ballots. Extending the time to 120 days will make it easier for them to do that,” Secretary Pate said. 
The legislation also removes an obstacle in the election process that currently prevents some ballots cast by overseas and military voters from being counted. Prior to passage this bill, the wording in Iowa Code created a dead end for military ballots by requiring an absentee request for a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). That provision forced county auditors to reject ballots that were otherwise complete and valid. 
“We are doing away with that provision. We must respect the votes of our military members who often times are in harm’s way and fighting for the freedoms we enjoy,” Secretary Pate said. 
“We greatly appreciate the collaborative effort between Secretary of State Pate, the Iowa Legislature, and Governor Branstad to provide greater voting access for Iowa servicemembers, especially those serving overseas. This law strengthens our Iowa servicemembers’ Constitutional right to vote while they are defending our freedoms,” said Col. Greg Hapgood with the Iowa National Guard. 
Joining Secretary Pate, Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds at the bill signing ceremony were state legislators, county auditors, Iowa National Guard Brigadier General Drew Dehaes and Captain Kathy Barton, Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs Executive Director Col. Robert King, representatives from several veterans groups, and members of the U.S. Army.  –OFFICE OF THE IOWA SECRETARY OF STATE – CONTACT: Kevin Hall – Communications Director – (515) 725-2942  ###

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