Hacker study: Russia could get into U.S. voting machines

October 10, 2017

ProCircular, the firm I hired to conduct a cybersecurity audit of Linn County’s election infrastructure forwarded the attached article from Politico (10/9/2017) to me. The part that caught my attention that may be related to the voting machines the County owns is: “Parts and programs that could easily be embedded with malware and sleeper commands are being incorporated from all over the world, from suppliers and shippers without clear security measures. That easily opens the possibility that a country with large resources and a long-term view—like Russia—could get access”.

I will be awaiting the release of the findings, which unfortunately the “bad guys” will be also be privy to. Then again, the bad guys probably know more about our vulnerabilities than our State and Federal election officials have shared with us. That needs to change since it’s local officials who administer the nation’s elections AND NOT State and Federal officials. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Hacker study_ Russia could get into U.S.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 – https://gis.linncounty.org/webdata/election/2017/20171107/forums.pdf If you are aware of additional forums or you spot errors/omissions in the list, please email me. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Safeguarding our election infrastructure

October 9, 2017

A previous post indicates the Russians tried to hack Iowa’s voter registration system or election websites in Iowa. That news confirms my office made the right decision to hire a cybersecurity firm to conduct an audit of our election infrastructure.

Well, the audit is almost complete and I was about to request a written report when it dawned on me that the written report would become an open record – a public record – and available to good people and “bad guys” – as soon as I received it. So I spend $5,000 of your tax dollars on an audit and receive a written report, which may spell out Linn County’s vulnerabilities in its election infrastructure, and by law I have to hand it over to the bad guys, if they ask. This sounds similar to the story about the NSA contractor storing government secrets on his home computer which were later stolen.

In that story, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Armed Services Committee, chastised the spy agency in a statement: “It’s a lot harder to beat your opponent when they’re reading your playbook, and it’s even worse when someone on your team gives it to them. If these reports are true, Russia has pulled that off.”

I do not want to hand over a written report or any public record which provides enough specifics on our election infrastructure and its vulnerabilities that it could be used to harm, degrade, or destroy the election infrastructure.

I created the attached Linn County Board of Supervisors resolution based upon my duty to protect the things that need to be protected from the bad guys who are out to harm our election infrastructure or our elections. The Board discussed this resolution today and it is on their Wednesday, October 11th agenda for discussion and possible approval. If you have any comments for me, you can email me or <a href="mailto:bd_supervisors, or attend the Board meeting at 10AM and speak during the first public comment period. Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Resolution Regarding Protecting Election Infrastructure – Final.docx

Absentee voting begins Monday, October 9 for regular city elections

October 4, 2017

For more information, contact:

Becky Stonawski

Deputy Commissioner of Elections

(319) 892-5300, ext. 1



October 4, 2017

Absentee Voting Begins Monday, October 9 for Regular City Elections

LINN COUNTY, IA – October 4, 2017 – Early, absentee voting begins Monday, Oct. 9 in Linn County for the Regular City Elections. Linn County administers elections for 17 cities.

Voting In-Person:

Beginning Monday, Oct. 9, individuals may vote in-person at the Election Services Department of the Auditor’s Office. The office is located in the Linn County Public Service Center, 935 2nd St. SW in Cedar Rapids. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Voting by Mail:

Voters may also request to have an absentee ballot mailed to them. These voters may return their ballot by mail or hand-deliver their ballot to the Election Services Department. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 in order to be counted.

Election Portal:

Go to www.linncounty.org/ElectionServices to gain access to all election-related information for Linn County. The following can be viewed or downloaded:

· Absentee Ballot Request Forms

· Absentee Voting Opportunities

· Election Day Information

· Polling Locations

· Sample Ballots

· Voter Registration Forms

Dates & Deadlines

Due Date Event / Deadline
10/9/2017 Absentee Voting to Begin
10/9/2017 Deadline to Receive Petitions for Satellite Voting
10/27/2017 Last Day to Pre-register to Vote for this Election
11/3/2017 Last Day to Request an Absentee Ballot to be Mailed
11/6/2017 Last Day to Vote Absentee (Auditor’s Office)

Election Day

11/8/2017 ASVP Board Must Reconvene (at noon for Cedar Rapids)
11/9/2017 Canvass of Votes for Cedar Rapids (Thursday after the Election)
11/10/2017 Deadline to Request a Recount for Cedar Rapids
11/14/2017 County Canvass of Votes for Remaining Cities
11/17/2017 Deadline to Request a Recount for Remaining Cities

For questions regarding this election, call the Linn County Election Services Office at (319) 892-5300, ext. 1 or email elections.


Russian agents tried to hack Iowa

September 25, 2017

Want to create havoc during the upcoming 2018 gubernatorial election? Hack into the statewide voter registration system and randomly delete a mere 10,000 active voters.

Imagine your grandparents showing up to vote as they have for 50 years and being told they are not registered to vote? Think lines, think anger, think confusion… and think frustrated voters leaving the polls without voting. “Mission accomplished” – way to go ‘bad actor’!

I hired ProCircular to conduct a cybersecurity audit of Linn County Election Services; I have sent staff to cybersecurity training and conferences; and I have and I am attending cybersecurity training and conferences, e.g., at this week’s Iowa Technology Summit.

What is the Iowa Secretary of State doing to keep our election systems safe? Has he hired outside “white hat” firms to audit our election systems? 2016 safeguards – see attached – are not going to be good enough in 2018. What’s the plan? Is there a plan? -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor


Help wanted: Logo designers

September 25, 2017

A majority of Linn County’s Supervisors think our County logo is ugly. Probably, nobody notices … or cares, but when you’re spending other people’s money, it becomes a priority to redesign it.

So if logo design is your niche, then read the attached and get to work … and submit your design. -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Logo Redesign Guidance & Requirements.pdf

Security Update from DHS re Iowa Elections

September 22, 2017

Yesterday (9/21/2017), I asked Iowa’s Director of Homeland Security if Iowa was one of the 21 states supposedly hacked by the Russians during the 2016 national election. The Director would neither confirm nor deny that Iowa was hacked. I tweeted about my exchange with the Director.

Today (9/22/2017), I received a non-confidential public record – the email below – assuring me and my fellow county auditors that Iowa’s election system was not hacked. Did the Feds really take ten (10) months to tell the Iowa Secretary of State that we were not hacked?

The timing of the email below versus my questions yesterday make me a little suspicious. I am glad to finally get an answer in writing, but do you believe in coincidences? – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

From: Olson, Carol [SOS] [mailto:Carol.Olson@sos.iowa.gov]
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2017 3:54 PM
To: Iowa’s County Auditors

Subject: Security Update from DHS re Iowa Elections


Secretary Pate requested that I provide you this information.

Following months of requests from chief state election officials, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finally today called all 56 U.S. jurisdictions to provide one-on-one notification on the status of security scans on their election systems. I am pleased to report to you that DHS affirmed that there has been no unauthorized intrusion, no “breach,” into any Iowa election system.

IVoters remains secure, as is the remainder of Iowa’s election and voter registration systems.

Please be aware that malicious actors continually scan public facing internet sites for opportunities to “break in.” Iowa has, and certainly will continue to be, the target of such scans. While we remain ever vigilant, we are also very confident that our systems are secure from malicious actors.

Have a great weekend.

Carol Olson –

Deputy Secretary of State

Office of Iowa Secretary of State Paul D. Pate

Vote buying, campaigning, or official business?

September 15, 2017

At least one locally elected official has a hard time differentiating when he is performing his official duties versus campaigning. He cannot seem to keep his roles or his wardrobe straight.

I have seen a similar occurrence on Facebook, e.g., is that comment that a county supervisor just made a campaign comment or an official comment? If the comment was posted between 8am and 5pm, and they are Linn County elected officials, i.e., full-time elected officials, then the only comments they should be making are official comments.

So imagine my surprise when I received my Linn Newsletter this week and saw Supervisor Chairperson Brent Oleson on the front page presenting an oversized $20,000.oo Linn County check to the Good Ole Boys. And then realized he was wearing his Re-Elect Oleson Supervisor t-shirt. Come on Brent! Do you have any ethics?

And even if wearing campaign clothes is legal while giving away 20,000 tax dollars, why do you have to mix campaigning with official business? Don’t you remember me confronting you about wearing your campaign clothes to official Board of Supervisors meetings? Why did you think it was OK to present an oversized Linn County check wearing your campaign t-shirt?

Brent, there is something wrong with your What’s Right versus What’s Wrong meter. And you need to fix it! This photo of you presenting $20,000.oo makes it appear that you are buying votes. And that makes every elected official in Iowa look bad. -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Will Board of Supervisors get sued?

September 14, 2017

Yesterday (9/14/2017), Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson filed a letter (see attachment) from Nyemaster Good PC – a law firm – into the Board’s official records. Oleson indicated during his public comments that this letter was the result of the resolution he initiated last week.

I think that the Board of Supervisors has a high probability of getting sued because of Oleson’s resolution, which he and three of his fellow Supervisors approved. Time will tell if his resolution benefitted Cedar Crossing. Frankly, I think the Board’s resolution hurt Cedar Crossing’s proposals. -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Supervisor districts map may be approved tomorrow

September 13, 2017

Tomorrow (9/142017), Linn County’s Temporary Redistricting Commission may approve a districts map dividing the County into three equally populated County Supervisor districts. Last week, four members of the Commission – two Republicans and two Democrats – showed up and no map was selected out of the four presented (see attached pdf).  I think they might have decided to not ask for any other versions of the map, but that could change tomorrow.

I plan to attend the meeting. If you want to attend the meeting, it will be held at 9:30am in the Community Services Building at 1240 26th Avenue Court SW, Cedar Rapids, IA, 52404.  For directions, click here. -Joel D Miller – Linn County Auditor

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