Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Linn County completes successful post-election audit

November 12, 2020

Code of Iowa chapter 49.128 requires county auditors to conduct a post-election audit of our general election results. Today, an audit board comprised of Democratic and Republican members, completed an audit of precinct CR-43 – the random precinct selected by the Iowa Secretary of State. The public and news media were invited, but none attended the audit.

The audit board did not find any errors or omissions related to the audited precinct; hence, they certified the audit as complete and correct.

Unless a recount of Linn County is requested, the post-election audit is one of the last major steps we will take to close this election. Linn County Election Services still has plenty of minor administrative tasks to do for this election; then, we start preparing for our first special election in March of 2021, as well as, the city/school elections in November 2021.

There’s much more to elections than 29 days of absentee/early voting and election day. In Linn County, it’s a year-round process. Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections
20201112103011495.pdf

Press release: Iowa’s county auditors have 46 hours to count 924,533 absentee ballots

November 2, 2020

This morning, Roxanna Moritz, President of the Iowa State Association of County Auditors, issued a press release reminding county auditors that beginning at 12:01am today, we have 46 hours to count the absentee ballots we had as of this morning, i.e., 924,533 absentee ballots

Translation: Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is going to suspend the counting of absentee ballots at 10pm on Election Night. This means that any of those 924,533 absentee ballots NOT counted by 10pm will NOT be counted.

In Linn County, we started the process of counting the absentee ballots included in the 924,533 total at 7am. We will not stop until 100% are counted. Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

PR Release.docx

Fan mail: Daniel Picha – Fountain City, WI

November 2, 2020

From: Daniel Picha <daniel.picha22@gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, November 02, 2020 7:35 AM
To: Miller, Joel <joel.miller@linncounty-ia.gov>
Subject: Your Quote

Dear Mr. Miller,

So you have all those people working at the polling place? What about the grocery stores? It seems people have no problem at all standing in line to check out their groceries!

Stupid is as Stupid does! And you must be the head cheese of STUPID!

Daniel Picha

W585 Castlerock Ln

Fountain City, WI 54629

Auditor Miller’s statement re Secretary Pate’s proposed emergency election directive

July 17, 2020

Statement by Linn County Auditor Joel D. Miller regarding the Iowa Secretary of State’s proposed Emergency Election Directive to be considered by the Iowa Legislative Council on 17 July 2020

I believe that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, those who are privileged to administer the election process must do everything reasonably possible to assist voters’ participation in a safe manner. I am hopeful the Legislative Council will approve the Secretary’s request to provide absentee ballot request forms (ABRF) to Iowa’s voters. I hope the Secretary distributes the ABRFs in a time frame that does not overly burden Iowa’s county auditors when the ABRFs are mailed by the voters to the county auditors.

I disagree with the Secretary’s attempt via his proposed directive to dictate the form in which county auditors can mail ABRFs to each auditor’s voters.

The Code of Iowa contains over 600 pages of laws pertaining to elections. For example, Election Laws of Iowa 2019, a document published by the Legislative Services Agency, is comprised of 636 pages.

In 2020, the Legislature decided to remove the Secretary’s discretion to send out ABRFs to every active registered voter in the State. Those same legislators that decided to remove the Secretary’s discretion were well aware that some of Iowa’s county auditors had mailed out ABRFs prior to the June 2nd primary election. During that same legislative session, those same legislators could have easily removed county auditors’ discretion to mail out ABRFs. They didn’t. They knowingly chose NOT to restrict county auditors’ discretion on mailing out ABRFs.

Now comes the Secretary, seeking permission from the Legislative Council to command county auditors across the State to only mail out officially prescribed blank ABRFs, i.e., if a county auditor chooses to mail out an ABRF.

I do not believe the legislative intent of the Code sections cited by the Secretary was intended to give the Secretary the discretion to pick and choose which election laws he wants to change. And I certainly do not believe the legislative intent was for the Secretary to create laws out of thin air and impose them on other duly elected officials, i.e., county auditors who have a duty to serve the voters in their counties.

What is the harm of voters in Linn County receiving an ABRF from their county auditor and one from the Secretary? None. And that exact scenario occurred prior to the June 2nd primary. What was the result of Linn County voters receiving two ABRFs – one from the Secretary and one from their county auditor? More voters than ever requested an absentee ballot and those same voters and others returned their requested absentee ballots at a rate that broke a primary election turnout record that had been set in 1994.

In summary, I applaud the Secretary’s desire to mail out ABRFs to Iowa’s voters in this unprecedented time of a pandemic. I’m glad to see that he and I are on the same page when it comes to giving our voters the option to vote safely by mail.

I find it absurd that the Secretary is planning to tell me and some of my peers how to send out ABRFs to our voters, when we took the initiative prior to the June 2nd primary to send out ABRFs weeks before the Secretary finally came to the decision to send out ABRFs across the State. The Secretary should stick to doing his job and let us do ours. | Posted by Joel D Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

Emergency Election Directive_Proposed.pdf

**********************************************

From: Burhans, Heidi [SOS] [Heidi.Burhans@sos.iowa.gov]
Sent: Friday, July 17, 2020 10:03 AM
To: Burhans, Heidi [SOS]
Subject: Proposed Emergency Election Directive

Dear County Auditors, Deputies and Staff:

Thank you for taking the time to participate in our conference calls and post-election survey. It is very important that we all work together to conduct a clean, fair and secure election and keep Iowa voters, PEOs and yourselves safe during this pandemic. Based on your feedback, we are asking the Legislative Council for the ability to do a statewide absentee ballot request form mailing per the attached Emergency Election Directive. They are expected to convene today, and we will let you know as soon as a decision is made.

Here is a link to the agenda which includes call-in information: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/committees/meetings/agenda?meetingID=32076

Heidi L Burhans – Director of Elections – Office of Iowa Secretary of State Paul D Pate

 

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 http://www.venmo.com/Joel-Miller-127
Paid for by Miller for Auditor

 


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