Auditor’s report 8/14 – 8/22/2016


Unique or out of the ordinary events for the given time period. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

8/14/2016

  • Election Services (ES) had processed 2,620 absentee ballot requests (ABR) on 8/10 with another 1500 ABRs in queue. On the same date in 2012, ES had processed 4,497 ABRs.
  • Reviewed email from Secretary of the Linn County Republican Party asking an assistant county attorney about the cancellation of a voter registration challenge hearing.
  • Exchanged emails with FairVote re instant runoff voting (IRV) in State of Iowa. Iowa’s election laws do not allow IRV.

8/15/2016

  • Claims without itemized receipts from employees are becoming an issue once again after I initially addressed the issue about nine years ago. An assistant county attorney (ACA) told the Board of Supervisors that the Board should be approving claims without receipts even though the Board’s policy indicates the Auditor should not process claims without itemized receipts. ACA did not have an itemized receipt for an airline baggage fee; however, he did present his credit card statement – not an itemized receipt – as proof of payment of the baggage fee. Board later approved the payment of the claim; henceforth, Auditor’s Office (AO) will process all claims without itemized receipts for the Board to scrutinize. Accounts Payable in AO was following direction of former deputy auditor who on 6/17/2013 wrote: 
    331.504(8) File for presentation to the board all unliquidated claims against the county and all claims for fees or compensation, except salaries fixed by state law. The claims, before being audited or paid, shall be itemized to clearly show the basis of the claim and whether for property sold or furnished for services rendered or for another purpose. An action shall not be brought against the county relating to a claim until the claim is filed as provided in this subsection and the payment refused or neglected. Per Andy Nielsen, Deputy State Auditor:   the following code section applies to sheriff’s deputies but is recommended for all employees. 70A.13 “Particulars required by county board. The board of supervisors shall not approve any claim for mileage or other traveling expenses presented by any peace officer including the sheriff and the sheriff’s deputies unless the destinations and number of miles covered in each trip are given, or, in the case of extended trips, unless railroad, hotel, and other traveling expenses, excepting meals, are verified by receipts.”
  • Traveled to Philadelphia, PA, for the Election Center’s 32nd Annual Conference.
  • Responded to an email questioning the safeguards in place so our voting system cannot get hacked and votes not altered.
  • Asked Board of Supervisors to approve the temporary appointment of a deputy auditor to handle a voter registration challenge hearing. Board discussed, but removed item from further agendas until Secretary of State’s Office could be queried for advice.

8/16/2016

  • Asked voter outreach coordinator to determine if Election Services should participate in upcoming Latino Festival scheduled for 9/18/2016.
  • Reviewed email from Election Services to local union who had requested use of voting machines to be used for a union election. ES provided list of private vendors who could meet the needs of a local union needing to conduct an internal election. Due to the nature of the current environment surrounding elections, I have decided that our election equipment will not be rented to non-government agencies or entities.
  • Decided the order for parties and non-political organizations on the November ballot. If I am the Auditor in 2018, the opposite order will be on the 2018 November ballot.
  • 9am – 4:30pm – Attended Election Center Class #29 – Using Surveys, Focus Groups, and Polling to Collect Information to Help Election Professionals.

8/17/2016

  • Confirmed Board of Supervisors has until 5pm on 8/31/2016 to add/change/remove ballot language for the November General Election per:
    331.306 Petitions of eligible electors. If a petition of the voters is authorized by this chapter, the petition is valid if signed by eligible electors of the county equal in number to at least ten percent of the votes cast in the county for the office of president of the United States or governor at the preceding general election, unless otherwise provided by state law. The petition shall include the signatures of the petitioners, a statement of their place of residence, and the date on which they signed the petition. Petitions authorized by this chapter shall be filed with the board of supervisors not later than eighty-two days before the date of the general election if the question is to be voted upon at the general election. If the petition is found to be valid, the board of supervisors shall, not later than sixty-nine days before the general election, notify the county commissioner of elections to submit the question to the registered voters at the general election.
  • Reviewed email exchange between deputy commissioner of elections and Marion’s city clerk re changing City of Marion’s charter via a question on the November General Election ballot. The petitioners appear to have 575 signatures and 505 signatures are needed per:
    372.11 Amendment to charter. A home rule charter may be amended by one of the following methods: 1. The council, by resolution, may submit a proposed amendment to the voters at a special city election, and the proposed amendment becomes effective if approved by a majority of those voting.  2. The council, by ordinance, may amend the charter. However, within thirty days of publication of the ordinance, if a petition valid under the provisions of section 362.4 is filed with the council, the council must submit the ordinance amendment to the voters at a special city election, and the amendment does not become effective until approved by a majority of those voting.  3. If a petition valid under the provisions of section 362.4 is filed with the council proposing an amendment to the charter, the council must submit the proposed amendment to the voters at a special city election, and the amendment becomes effective if approved by a majority of those voting.  362.4 Petition of eligible electors.  If a petition of the voters is authorized by the city code, the petition is valid if signed by eligible electors of the city equal in number to ten percent of the persons who voted at the last preceding regular city election, but not less than ten persons, unless otherwise provided by state law. The petition shall include the signatures of the petitioners, a statement of their place of residence, and the date on which they signed the petition. The petition shall be examined before it is accepted for filing. If the petition appears valid on its face it shall be accepted for filing. If it lacks the required number of signatures it shall be returned to the petitioner. Petitions which have been accepted for filing are valid unless written objections are filed with the city clerk within five working days after the petition is received. The objection process in section 44.8 shall be followed.
  • Responded to inquiry from NACO (National Association of Counties) via Supervisor Houser re threats or attacks on Linn County’s voting systems. Answer = none at this time.
  • 8am – 11am – Continued attending Election Center Class #29 – Using Surveys, Focus Groups, and Polling to Collect Information to Help Election Professionals.
  • Provided advocate for Friends of Cedar Lake with voter registration statistics, e.g., 58% of Linn County’s registered voters reside within the City of Cedar Rapids.

8/18/2016

  • Asked deputy commissioner of elections about our military voters’ perception on whether their vote gets counted on Election Day? Per FVAP, nation-wide, 67% of military voters do NOT have confidence their votes get counted. Answer = we believe our military voters have high confidence; however, at present, we have no means to measure their perception.
  • Thomson Reuters, our vendor who supports Aumentum, our property tax system, suggested that the County Treasurer be allowed to post the annual tax list. Posting the tax list is a statutory duty of the County Auditor and I see no reason to change the process or lobby the Legislature to change the duty from the Auditor to the Treasurer.
  • Reviewed email exchange between deputy commissioner of elections and deputy Secretary of State indicating only the County Commissioner of Elections or his/her designee can preside over a voter registration challenge hearing. The SOS has no authority to hold a hearing. This information will be presented at a future Board of Supervisors meeting.
  • Attended keynote address, Legislative Update, The Dynamics of Administering the Presidential Elections, National Voter Registration Day, and Treating Voters Like Customers sessions at the Election Center Conference.

8/19/2016

  • Attended Use of Technology in Election Administration, Handling Emergencies on Election Day, Presidential Election Preparation, and Your Election is Being Watched sessions at the Election Center Conference. Also visited with vendors who provide language translation services for elections, ES&S – our election equipment supplier, and a vendor who provides technology which can read petitions.
  • Exchanged emails with local US Attorney’s Office re clarification of federal statutes/guidelines related to voter accessibility.

8/22/2016 – At 4:30am, departed hotel in Philadelphia and traveled back to Cedar Rapids. Upon arrival at office, met with deputy auditors and reviewed/responded to email backlog.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: