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


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)]

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

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.

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

· 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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