Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

Flawed logic and free passes

November 2, 2016

Using columnist Todd Dorman’s and County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden’s logic, all of my former opponents are hereby enabled to break election law because they ran against me in an election.

So that means Dan Abolins, Dennis A. Hill, Patricia L. Ehler, Sally L. Schaab, Ronald J. Maxa, Jr., Lyle K. Hanson, anyone who received one or more of the 1071 votes cast in the Auditor’s race in the 2008 general election, Garth W. Fagerbakke, Brian Lee Gradoville, James M. Houser, and Joe Stutler are hereby enabled to break election law because they ran against me in an election.

Further, Supervisors Brent Oleson and Ben Rogers are enabled to break election law because they are my political rivals.

One of the foundations of our State is contained in Article One Section Six of the Iowa Constitution: All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation; the general assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens. This section of the Constitution is the underlying reason we allow same sex marriage in Iowa.

I do not see anywhere in the Iowa Constitution that former or present political opponents and rivals get a free pass on breaking election law. And that’s what Dorman and Vander Sanden are doing for Stutler, giving him and the other Stutlers of Linn County a free pass.

As of 11/1/2016, over 8,000 residents had voted in-person in the Auditor’s Office or at one of our satellite voting places. Only one left the voting place to vote his ballot outside the voting booth, i.e., Stutler.  And he’s getting away with it because of the flawed logic of the County Attorney and the affirmation of a columnist.

Thanks for treating me like a crime victim fellas! I guess I must have invited Stutler’s behavior. – Joel D. Miller –Linn County Auditor

P.S.  Today (11/3), a caller challenged me on a word I used in my closing paragraph.  I agreed with her and changed the wording.  My apologies to anyone I offended.  – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

The Gazette published a story on this post at 5pm on 11/3/2016; KCRG broadcast a story on this post at 11:30pm on 11/3/2016; and The Gazette published an opinion on this post at 10am on 11/4/2016.

Lying will always be a big deal to me

October 29, 2016
Editor’s note 1/14/2020 – In 2017, the Iowa Legislature/Governor changed the laws regarding absentee voting in county commissioners’ offices.  It is now illegal to remove an absentee ballot issued by the commissioner from the voting area designated by the commissioner.

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No evidence of bathroom break on video

On 27 October 2016, the Gazette published Miller wants former rival arrested over voting misconduct – in which Joe Stutler said, “I had to go to the bathroom, so I walked down the hall, filled out my ballot and brought it back….”

On October 28th, the Gazette published another story – Ballot charges sought by Auditor Miller not likely – which reads:  … Stutler, who said he left the polling place to use the restroom ….

On or about 11:05am on 27 October 2016, Stutler was issued his ballot.

I recently obtained video of Stutler on the morning of October 27th:

At about 11:06am, you can see Stutler in red shirt and shorts leaving the voting room area and heading towards the stairs – https://youtu.be/H5wg9JLskMc

At about 11:07am, you can see Stutler turning left before the stairs, going down the hallway and eventually sitting in the one of the chairs by the men’s restroom across from the County Recorder’s counter. He veered over by the Recorder’s counter, which makes me wonder if he did not ask for permission to sit in the chair? Stutler fills out the ballot, stands under the light by the elevator, and appears to be taking photos of his ballot.  He sits down again, then stands, and is eventually confronted by a precinct election official – see https://youtu.be/9GK2a3ez0QU

I am disputing what Stutler told the Gazette’s reporters and may have told County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden. Stutler said, “I had to go to the bathroom….”

The men’s restroom is located on the right side of the hallway next to where Stutler sat and he never goes out of sight to go to the bathroom. So unless Stutler went to the bathroom sitting in the chair or he was wearing a diaper, he made misleading statements to the reporter who reported the news to the public.

I think Stutler read James Lynch’s story IOWA FORBIDS “BALLOT SELFIES” IN VOTING BOOTHS  and decided to go to your Auditor’s Office and ‘act out’.

I have known Joe Stutler for many years. He has worked for me in the Auditor’s Office as an election official on numerous occasions.  He knows the law and he knew he was violating it when he removed his ballot from the voting room.

The Linn County Attorney needs to charge Joe Stutler with a crime and apologize to the person who did his duty and reported the crime.  –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Vander Sanden more interested in protecting crony than in maintaining order in polling places

October 28, 2016

From: Miller, Joel
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2016 4:43 PM
To: Vander Sanden, Jerry
Cc: Mitchell.Schmidt@thegazette.com
Subject: RE: Re: Order to Arrest Joseph Stutler

Dear Mr. Vander Sanden:

In my 9+ years as County Auditor, your office has rarely sided with me on anything and I cannot recall that you have ever sided with me. I am not surprised that you have weaseled your way out of upholding my order to arrest a person you supported in the June 2016 primary election. Per https://webapp.iecdb.iowa.gov/publicview/NewContributionSearch.aspx#ctl00_cph1_gvList , you gave $110 to the Committee to Elect Joe Stutler, which is more than you have given to any other candidate running in Linn County. You should have referred this case to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office due to your conflict of interest.

Just as you should have asked the Iowa Attorney General’s Office for an opinion on whether the hiring of your sister-in-law in your office constituted nepotism. I accused you of wrong doing and you rendered an opinion on yourself and your office, denying nepotism. Your opinion, which the Board relied upon, should have never been given when you are the accused.

I am trying to maintain the peace in my office, which is a polling place for early voters – almost 500 today – and your message to the public is do whatever you want at the 86 polling places in Linn County on Election Day because the Linn County Attorney will not prosecute you. Maybe you should sign-up to be a precinct election official for this election so you can reap the fruits of your words below?

Code of Iowa Section 49.105 states, “Any precinct election official shall order the arrest of any person….” It says “shall”, which is a duty. I did my duty. If you cannot do your duty because you despise me so much that you overlook your conflicts of interest with me, then refer these cases to an attorney who does not have a conflict of interest with me and my office. That is your duty and your professional responsibility!

Regards,

Joel D Miller, Auditor, CERA, CGAP®(candidate)

Office of Linn County Auditor

935 2nd ST SW

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

319-892-5333

LinkedIn

Vision: Every person engaged in local government.

WARNING: Your initial email to me (if any), this email, and your reply, may be viewed by other Linn County elected officials and/or County personnel without my knowledge or consent. Confidential emails should be addressed to mailto:auditor

From: Vander Sanden, Jerry
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2016 4:06 PM
To: Miller, Joel
Cc: Mitchell.Schmidt
Subject: RE: Re: Order to Arrest Joseph Stutler

Mr. Miller:

Thank you for your prompt reply. However, I believe you have erred in your legal analysis. The provisions of Chapter 49 in general and specifically section 49.105 apply to the conduct of elections on election day. It is this section that gives precinct election officials the authority to maintain order and restore the peace if someone becomes disruptive in the polling place on election day. Clearly this is an extreme measure meant to be used only under exception circumstances.

Chapter 53 and specifically 53.10 apply to those who case absentee votes which is what Joseph Stutler was doing. The rules are different for those casting absentee votes. Absentee ballots don’t have to be filled out in a voting booth and there is no prohibition against taking a photo of an absentee ballot. I don’t see that Joe Stutler committed even a technical violation of the election laws.

In my 33 years with the Linn County Attorney’s Office, I have never seen an auditor try to invoke this code section to have a voter arrested. That you tried to apply it to have your primary opponent arrested under these circumstances is a deplorable abuse of the legal and political process.

Jerry A. Vander Sanden

Linn County Attorney

Linn County Courthouse

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Office: (319) 892-6350

Email: jerry.vandersanden

From: Miller, Joel
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2016 3:21 PM
To: Vander Sanden, Jerry
Subject: RE: Re: Order to Arrest Joseph Stutler

Mr. Vander Sanden:

See my responses in UPPER CASE RED FONT,

Joel D Miller, Auditor, CERA, CGAP®(candidate)

Office of Linn County Auditor

935 2nd ST SW

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

319-892-5333

LinkedIn

Vision: Every person engaged in local government.

WARNING: Your initial email to me (if any), this email, and your reply, may be viewed by other Linn County elected officials and/or County personnel without my knowledge or consent. Confidential emails should be addressed to mailto:auditor

From: Vander Sanden, Jerry
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2016 2:16 PM
To: Miller, Joel
Subject: Re: Order to Arrest Joseph Stutler

Mr. Miller:

The Cedar Rapids Police Department requested my legal opinion regarding your purported order directing them to arrest Joseph Stutler. Before I respond to them, I hope you can clarify a few matters for me so I can give them proper legal advice.

· Were you personally present at the polling place in the Elections Office when any of the alleged actions of Mr. Stutler took place? NO

· Were you a witness to any of the his actions at or outside the Elections Office? NO

· Was any precinct election official a witness to any of the alleged actions of Mr. Stutler? YES. CRPD HAS SWORN STATEMENT FROM PEO.

· Are you claiming the provisions of Chapter 49 apply to a voter who casts an absentee ballot pursuant to section 53.10(3) of the Iowa Code? YES

· That is, since Mr. Stutler was casting an absentee ballot pursuant to section 53.10(3), is there any provision which mandates where the ballot must be completed?

SEE PAGE 3-17 OF IOWA SECRETARY OF STATE’S GUIDE FOR AUDITOR’S https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/auditors/eah/absentee.pdf

6. Initial and issue the appropriate ballot to the voter. Ballots must be voted at the office; they may not be taken from the office.

7. Send the voter to a booth. Each voter must use a voting booth. Voting instructions must be posted in each voting booth. [IAC 721—22.250]

8. Ask the voter to wait while you review the affidavit envelope when the voter returns the ballot.

Check to be sure the voter:

§ Sealed the affidavit envelope, apparently with the ballot inside

§ Did not open and reseal the affidavit envelope

[§53.18, IAC 721—21.352(2), 21.354(2)]

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CODE OF IOWA SECTION 49.84 Marking and return of ballot.

1. a. After receiving the ballot, the voter shall immediately go to the next available voting booth and without delay mark the ballot. All voters shall vote in booths.

39A.3Election misconduct in the second degree.1. A person commits the crime of election misconduct in the second degree if the person willfully commits any of the following acts:

a.Interference with validity of election.

(1) Possesses an official ballot outside of the voting room unless the person is an election official or other person authorized by law to possess such a ballot.

2. Election misconduct in the second degree is an aggravated misdemeanor.

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· Do you know of any law prohibiting a person from taking a photo of an absentee ballot? YES. IF YOU ARE REQUIRED TO VOTE YOUR BALLOT IN A VOTING BOOTH [IAC 721—22.250] AND CODE 49.84, AND YOU PROHIBITED FROM USING DEVICES IN THE VOTING BOOTH (CODE 49.88), THEN IT STANDS TO REASON THAT YOU CANNOT VIOLATE THE LAW BY LEAVING THE BOOTH AND THEN THINK YOU HAVE NOT VIOLATED THE LAW BY TAKING A PHOTO OUTSIDE OF THE BOOTH.

· Concerning section 39A.3(1)(a)(1) of the Code, wasn’t Mr. Stutler authorized to possess the absentee ballot since it was issued to him? HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO POSSESS THE BALLOT AND DIRECTED TO PROCEDED TO THE VOTING ROOM CONTAINING THE VOTING BOOTHS PER CODE 49.84.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention and reply to my inquiry.

Jerry A. Vander Sanden

Linn County Attorney

Linn County Courthouse

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Office: (319) 892-6350

Email: jerry.vandersanden


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