Archive for the ‘Political’ Category

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

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:


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

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] <>
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: 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.


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

SF413 Redline.pdf

Iowa needs another Miller, Fitzgerald, or Sand

January 30, 2021

Earlier this week, Iowa’s current Secretary of State sent out a fundraising letter saying the “Radical Left” and the “Liberals have launched a well-funded, national effort to take control of election authorities in every state.”  Really?  Who is running for Secretary of State in Iowa aside from the incumbent?

I’m exploring a run for Iowa Secretary of State so I created the Miller for Iowa Secretary of State Exploratory Committee (M4SOSEC).

The purpose of creating this Committee is to recruit a current or former county auditor to run for Secretary of State in 2022 or to run for Secretary of State myself. Frankly, I don’t know if anyone other than a Republican can win another state-wide office in Iowa.  Is there another Tom Miller, Michael Fitzgerald, or Rob Sand out there?

If this Exploratory Committee (EC) is superseded by my decision to run for Secretary of State, all unspent funds will be transferred to my new campaign committee.  If the EC is dissolved due to my decision not to run, all unspent funds will be transferred to the Iowa Democratic Party.

Do you have an opinion on who should or should not run for Secretary of State?  I encourage you to post your comments below or email

Paid for by Miller for Iowa Secretary of State Exploratory Committee (M4SOSEC) | Contributions accepted via Venmo or Zelle to

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


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


HF2643: An unfunded mandate and administrative burden imposed on county taxpayers/voters

July 15, 2020

Yesterday (7/14/2020), LULAC and Majority Forward filed a lawsuit in Johnson County against Iowa Secretary of State Paul D. Pate – the State’s chief election official, who is responsible for the uniform operation of elections across the State of Iowa. It’s attached and it’s a good read. It took me about an hour in between interruptions to get through all 30 pages. It referenced what I’m planning to do for Linn County voters, i.e., mail them prefilled absentee ballot request forms (ABRF) including their PINs.

I’d like to emphasize a couple of points in the lawsuit that majority legislators and the Governor did not seem to consider when they approved HF2643.

1> This change in elections law was included in an appropriations bill. Isn’t it ironic that no one seems to have asked for a fiscal impact statement on this change to elections law? I told both my state representative and state senator that this legislation was going to add costs to future elections because we would need to hire more personnel to contact voters that omitted or replied with incorrect information on their ABRFs.

2> No two voters will necessarily be treated the same whether from the same county or from different counties. For example, an in-person voter voting at an auditor’s office or at the polls on election day will always be offered a provisional ballot if they are lacking the proper identification or don’t qualify to vote a regular ballot for some reason. The same is not true for an absentee voter voting by mail. If they submit a defective ABRF to our office, they will have to cure the defect before an absentee ballot will be mailed to them. We never mail out provisional absentee ballots to absentee ballot requestors.

If you’re voting address is in Linn or Johnson counties, we are planning to mail active voters prefilled ABRFs including PINs. As of this writing, if you live in Black Hawk or Dubuque counties, you may receive an ABRF, but they won’t be prefilled – see KCRG TV 7/15/2020. And finally, if you live in Benton, Jones, Buchanan, Tama, or Iowa counties, those county auditors are NOT mailing out ABRFs – see KCRG TV 7/7/2020.

LULAC and Majority Forward are correct in asserting that voters across the State will be treated differently depending on their voting addresses. Don’t blame me or my peers who are mailing out ABRFs to our constituents, thereby reducing the impact of the Legislature’s unfunded mandate, reducing the administrative burden on our voters, and/or creating inequities between counties. Many of my peers foresaw exactly what is occurring now, and asked for a seat at the table when HF2643 and other senseless changes were being made to Iowa’s election laws. We were ignored.

I’m going to do my best to keep my constituents safe and healthy if/when or however they choose to engage in the upcoming election. I would be negligent to do otherwise. Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

LULAC Pleading01 Petition at Law and Equity 071420.pdf

LULAC Pleading02 Motion for Special Assignment 071420.pdf

LULAC Pleading03 Notice of Conflict 071420.pdf

Miller endorsed by Johnson and Polk County Auditors

May 17, 2020

Joel D. Miller, Linn County Auditor and June 2nd Democratic primary election candidate, is the only candidate for Linn County Auditor to be endorsed by fellow county auditors.

Travis Weipert, Johnson County Auditor, endorsed Miller and said, “Auditor Miller is always thinking ahead.  Our recent agreement to provide mutual aid to each other in the event either office is shut-down due to Covid-19 is a prime example.”

Jamie Fitzgerald, Polk County Auditor, endorsed Miller and said, “Joel Miller is tenacious at saving taxpayer resources and fighting to ensure all voters are able to easily participate in our elections.  I am proud to call him a friend.”

To see their very public endorsements, click on the Miller for Auditor postcard.

Please vote Miller for Auditor and drop off your ballot in a USPS mailbox or in the white dropbox in front of the Linn County Public Service Center.  Please do NOT hand over your ballot to a ballot harvester or a stranger.

It is not too late to donate to the Miller for Auditor campaign at
Paid for by Miller for Auditor


Broad coalition contributes to Miller campaign

May 15, 2020

Linn County Auditor Joel D. Miller, a candidate on the June 2nd Democratic primary election ballot, filed his campaign finance report for the period ending 5/14/2020.  You can view it here.  Some quick facts about his report:

Total funds raised = $10,495

Largest contribution = $2,900

Contributors = 80

PACs = 0

Current elected official contributors = 4

Former elected official contributors = 10

Paid for by Miller for Auditor

Donate to Miller for Auditor at

Stick with an experienced team

May 6, 2020

I am Joel Miller and I have been your Linn County Auditor for over 13 years. I am on the ballot in the Democratic primary election and I have an opponent.

I have been your County watchdog since 2007. I have been a nationally certified election administrator since 2009. I was Iowa’s County Auditor of the Year in 2013.

I am for automatic voter registration when citizens turn 18.

I am for improved post election audits, e.g., risk limiting audits.

I am for allowing felons to vote after they have served their sentences.

I am for all vote-by-mail elections to reduce the risk of spreading Covid19.

I oversee a great team! The anchor of our team is First Deputy Auditor Becky Shoop. She has been with the County for over 40 years. Her institutional knowledge is indispensable. She provides guidance not only to our office, but other County offices.

When a vacancy occurred on my elections team a few years ago, I hired local attorney Rebecca Stonawski as Deputy Commissioner of Elections. Her organizational skills and legal background have proved to be invaluable as election laws change from year to year.

And finally, after I successfully lobbied to get the Code of Iowa changed so that county auditors can audit county accounts and funds, I promoted Rhonda Betsworth, a CPA (certified public accountant), to Deputy Auditor to oversee the County’s accounting and property tax systems.

I am a US Army Military Police veteran, former IBEW member, former Chair of the Linn County Democrats, and former Mayor of Robins.

I am a member of Rotary, the American Legion, and the Catholic Church. My wife and I have been married for 42 years. We have 3 adult married children and 9 grandchildren.

I have been a dairy farmer, a deputy sheriff, an electronics technician for AT&T, a senior manager for Teleconnect and MCI, a senior project manager for Siemens, and an IT Director for Four Oaks of Iowa. I have owned my own profitable technology business.

This is not the time to hire an amateur to run your elections. This is not the time to hand watchdog duties over to a former county supervisor who quit to take a job in DC. This is not the time to break-up a great team.

I request you vote in the Democratic primary election.

I request you vote Miller for Auditor.  

Paid for by Miller for Auditor – Donate at

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