Democrat Linn County Auditor Joel Miller is no stranger to political hackery.
In 2020, he was found to have broken the law in a district court ruling. The lawsuit in question was focused on absentee ballot request forms. Thumbing his nose at guidance from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office to make a political point, Miller mailed absentee ballot request forms to more than 56,0000 individuals with prepopulated voter information, including their confidential Voter ID number.
Ultimately, the judge tossed the ballot request forms. The stunt not only wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars but also opened the door to voter fraud and eroded voters’ trust, all to raise Miller’s profile with his political stunt.
It’s no surprise that Miller is trying to level up, now running against Paul Pate for the Iowa Secretary of State. Candidate Joe Miller finds himself spouting his hackery all from the safe confines of Twitter. Miller’s campaign platform, it appears, consists of trashing Iowa’s strong voter ID laws and Pate’s work to combat human trafficking and provide a safe address for victims of domestic violence.
“Pate is bored with elections – want proof? Do a search. Count the stories on Human Trafficking and Domestic Abuse – NOT his job,” Miller tweeted on Oct. 4, 2022.
@PateforIowa is bored with elections. Want proof? Do a search. Count the stories on Human Trafficking and Domestic Abuse – NOT his job -> What Iowa SoS candidates Paul Pate & Joel Miller say about voting, elections https://t.co/fBjx9p2da3 via @DMRegister
— Joel Miller – Democrat for Iowa Secretary of State (@JoelMiller4IA) October 5, 2022
Miller refers to the Safe at Home Act, which the Iowa legislature unanimously passed in 2015 and instructed Iowa’s Secretary of State’s office to execute. According to the website, Iowa’s Safe at Home law is “an address confidentiality program that provides participants with a substitute address.”
Many have described this program as improving the lives of victims by giving them confidential voter registration and absentee voting, as well as a mail forwarding service and substitute address, preventing them from being found from abusers. ”
In early 2022, Pate’s office launched an effort to bring together a business community coalition to commit to ending human trafficking in Iowa. Part of the Iowa Secretary of State’s job includes overseeing business services. At the time of the announcement, businesses and organizations working to combat human trafficking in the state hailed the move.
“We are grateful to have been invited to collaborate with the Secretary of State in the design and creation of the Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking program,” said George Belitsos, chair of the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery. “Secretary Pate is to be commended for launching IBAT and giving all of Iowa’s businesses the opportunity to join the fight to end modern slavery and human trafficking in our state.”
Pate recently responded to Miller’s comments on Simon Conway’s radio show on 1040. “Apparently, he’s comfortable with the amount of human trafficking in Iowa. I’m not. Neither is the Dept. of Public Safety. This form of modern-day slavery must end. We are supplementing what they do, by raising awareness,” said Pate.
Miller also took to his keyboard to complain about the efforts of the Iowa Legislature to strengthen Iowa’s voting laws. While Miller was playing political games with voters in Linn County, Paul Pate was leading the charge to pass Voter ID laws in Iowa, preventing fraud and ensuring that Iowans can feel their elections are safe and secure. This issue has been overwhelmingly something Iowans support.
In response to Miller’s tweet, Pate highlighted the fact that Miller has been on the wrong side of the issue his entire tenure.
“He was against Voter ID. Not only did he oppose Voter ID, but he also came to the Capitol multiple times to lobby against it. He was wrong on a commonsense security measure that the vast majority of Iowans support,” said Pate.
As Election Day nears, it seems that candidate Joel Miller’s strategy is Twitter rants which raise important questions – does he intend to end the overwhelmingly popular human trafficking initiative, or leave domestic violence victims subject to harassment and harm from their abusers or to gut Iowa’s voter ID laws?
Additionally, Miller’s frequent use of social media during the workday raises questions about campaigning while he is supposed to perform his job. Iowa Field Report has reached out to the Linn county auditor’s office to inquire about what controls or policies are in place to ensure his taxpayer-funded office is not being used as a de facto campaign headquarters.