Answer to motion to dismiss HAVA complaint

November 27, 2019

Today (11/27/2019), I filed my answers to the arguments made by the Iowa Secretary of State (SoS) in his motion to dismiss my HAVA complaint.  As the banner on my home page indicates, I wear many hats.  I am the author of the answers, but I am not a lawyer.  My brief is functional, but it is not lawyerly.  It is 128 pages long and includes 18 exhibits.

To save you from having to scroll through 128 pages, I embedded the links to my online sources into the exhibit numbers.  If you want to see an exhibit that does not have a link, please reach out to me via the contact form.

Next steps.  The SoS has until 12/5/2019 to respond to these answers and the resistance I filed on 11/26/2019.  Unless the SoS and I decide to settle before 12/9/2019, the Voter Registration Commission, in its role as the Presiding Officer, will hold a hearing at 10am on 12/9/2019 in the SoS conference room on the 1st Floor of the Lucas State Office Building on the Capitol Complex.  The hearing will be open to the public.

In the meantime, feel free to use the contact form to reach me.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

 

Resistance to motion to dismiss HAVA complaint

November 26, 2019

On 8/12/2019, I filed a HAVA complaint on the Iowa Secretary of State.

Today, 11/26/2019, I filed part one of my Resistance to the Secretary of State’s Motion to Dismiss my HAVA complaint.

Tomorrow, 11/27/2019, I will file part two of my resistance, i.e., an additional complementary, stand-alone document containing detailed answers to the Arguments in the Motion to Dismiss.

If you are a legal geek, you may find today’s filing interesting.  If you are an elections or cybersecurity geek, then save your reading for tomorrow.  Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Secretary Pate files motion to dismiss HAVA complaint

November 13, 2019

As expected, the assistant attorney general representing the Office of Iowa Secretary of State Paul D. Pate filed a motion to dismiss my HAVA complaint. Assuming my complaint is not resolved in the next few days, I will be filing a response to the motion to dismiss, which I will post on this blog. Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

 

Press Release: US Senator Duckworth makes surprise visit to deported veterans In Mexico

November 12, 2019

Editor’s note: As a veteran and an elected official, I am disgusted by the deportations of fellow veterans who honorably served in the United States Military. My perception is that these deportations are arbitrary and capricious. If you have information to the contrary, please post it below. Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Contact: David Cruz | (818) 689-9991 | davidcruz

Nation’s Oldest & Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Arrives with Former Army Lt. Colonel, Now U.S. Senator

Washington, DC – Domingo Garcia, National President of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) crossed the border early today and traveled to Tijuana with one of the nation’s leading Congressional advocates for veterans, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois). Their delegation also included repatriated Army Special Forces combat soldier, Miguel Perez and Carlos Luna, Council President, LULAC Green Card Veterans based in Chicago, Illinois.

“We made this important visit, unannounced for security reasons, to personally let all deported Latino veterans know that LULAC and Senator Duckworth do not forget them and we will not stop fighting until each and every one of them has been returned home to the country they defended,” said Garcia. “Americans must demand that our immigration laws be changed so that no veteran is kicked out of the U.S. after putting their lives on the line, come back with PTSD, can’t access medical care and fall into trouble. They pay their debt to society for their mistakes but then face a separate penalty because they’re not U.S. citizens and wind up getting deported. This is wrong and we must repatriate all veterans who have suffered this injustice,” he added.

The LULAC Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, chaired by Roman Palomares, is contacting the governors of each of the states where Latino veterans have been deported and asking them to consider signing acts of clemency allowing the former soldiers to return to the United States and have new immigration hearings. This is what was done by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on behalf of deported veteran, Miguel Perez who successfully obtained his citizenship on October 4, 2019.

“As I shook the hands of these deported veterans and left Tijuana, I couldn’t help but feel they’re still soldiers in a different type of combat every day because their lives are still on the line, “said Garcia. “They’re targets of the plata o plomo danger because criminals see them as potential recruits and those who refuse to join them face the very real threat of harm or even death. None of us must rest until they are safe once again,” he added.

Palomares says Veterans Day is a good opportunity for encouraging our members to consider veteran-related activities year-round. Visit a VA hospital, unfurl and proudly display an American flag, reach out to a veteran you know or simply say thank you to a military service member we might see.

“Being an American veteran isn’t about war or conflict, although we may be called upon to face that too,” says Palomares. “It is about safeguarding the peace and helping to make sure that our nation remains a country where people can live free of fear and that their families can thrive and prosper. LULAC is proud to stand with them and together, we shall continue to defend and fight for the principles upon which our nation is founded,” he concludes.

NEWS RELEASE: Planning Underway for Linn County’s FY21 Budget

November 8, 2019

For more information, contact:

Sara Bearrows

Budget Director

319-892-5115

sara.bearrows

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 8, 2019

Planning Underway for Linn County’s FY21 Budget

Public Budget Forum is 5 p.m. Nov. 19

LINN COUNTY, IA – November 8, 2019 – Planning is underway for Linn County’s fiscal year 2021 budget. The budget will be developed over the next two and a half months during a series of more than 20 public meetings between the Linn County Board of Supervisors, other Linn County elected officials, and department heads.

Linn County will hold its annual Public Budget Forum Tuesday, November 19 at 5 p.m. at the Linn County Public Service Center, 935 Second St. SW in Cedar Rapids. Residents are invited to attend the public forum to address the Board of Supervisors and provide comment on the development of Linn County’s fiscal year 2021 budget.

The meeting dates and times for all budget meetings will be posted on the Agendas & Minutes section of Linn County’s website at LinnCounty.org 24 hours in advance of the meetings.

A budget calendar for the entire FY21 budget process is available on the Linn County website. However, the dates are subject to change so please check the Agendas & Minutes section on Linn County’s website 24 hours in advance for the most up-to-date information or sign-up to receive email and/or text notification of Board of Supervisors meetings and agendas at LinnCounty.org/NotifyMe.

Fiscal year 2021 begins July 1, 2020 and ends June 30, 2021.

Linn County has successfully maintained its Aaa bond rating and has received the following awards from the Government Finance Officers Association for consistently exercising sound fiscal management and reporting:

  • Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting – 30 consecutive years
  • Distinguished Budget Presentation Award – 23 consecutive years
  • Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting – 21 consecutive years.

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IVoters felon list still disenfranchising citizens

October 28, 2019

Recently, Linn County Election Services (LCES) had a phone call from a citizen who received a “Canceled – Convicted Felon Letter” after registering to vote at an Iowa DOT drivers’ license station. Here is a summary of the events that occurred to get her records corrected:

The citizen said she had never been convicted of a felony, although she had been charged.

LCES searched the Felon List within I-Voters and it showed an “N” for “No” in the “Restored/Corrected” field, which meant she was a felon.

LCES gave the citizen the case number and conviction date listed in her I-Voters record.

The citizen said she would contact the clerk of court.

A few hours later, LCES got a call from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office indicating the citizen’s record had been corrected and LCES should make her an Active voter.

LCES double-checked IVoters and it did indeed show a “C” for “Corrected” in the “Restored/Corrected” column.

LCES made the citizen/voter Active and initiated the process to issue her a Voter Acknowledgement Card.

According to a 9/24/2019 story in the Des Moines Register, “More than 2600 people have been found to have been erroneously listed on the state’s felon list since 2016”.

Chapter 721 of the Code of Iowa states: Any public officer/employee who “… knowingly delivers a falsified writing, with the knowledge that the writing is falsified and that the writing will become a public record of a government body” commits a crime.

Regarding the Felon List, as long ago as 4/15/2015, the Director of Elections for the Iowa Secretary of State, “…noted that the quality of information that has been received from the local clerk’s offices in the past is not reliable ….”

One of the arguments for Iowa passing Voter ID was: If the new Voter ID law keeps even one ineligible voter from voting, then we should pass it. Using that logic, if the current Felon List disenfranchises even one eligible voter, then the Felon List should be abandoned and NOT used by the State’s election officials. Maybe someone should file an injunction prohibiting the use of the Felon List within IVoters? Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Media Advisory: Election Day and Results Information for Linn County

October 28, 2019

Dear News Media,

Thank you for your coverage of the November 5, 2019 City/School Election.

Information on election day for Linn County is here.

Please contact me with any questions.

Sincerely,

REBECCA STONAWSKI
Deputy Commissioner of Elections
AUDITOR’S OFFICE
935 2ND St. SW | Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 | Ph: 319-892-5300, opt.1 LinnCounty.org

By Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

 

VRC to discuss how-to-proceed on HAVA complaint

October 25, 2019

The Iowa Voter Registration Commission (VRC) will take up my HAVA complaint at its 10am meeting next Wednesday. Details of the meeting are at VR Agenda 10-30-2019.pdf

Here are some events that have occurred since I filed the HAVA complaint on 7/17/2019:

7/19/2019 – Iowa Secretary of State’s Office (SoS) confirms to Associated Press that Iowa’s 14-year-old voter registration system (IVoters) will not be upgraded prior to the 2020 Presidential Election.

7/20/2019 – Published “HAVA complaint filed on Iowa Secretary of State” on this blog.

7/22/2019 – SoS responds to Linn County Auditor’s (LCA) public records request (PRR) seeking correspondence on IVoters development from 1/1/2018 to the present by providing one email from 12/26/2017, and nothing for all of 2018 or 2019. SoS indicates all other records are considered confidential (secret) under Iowa law.

7/22/2019 – Published “Feds trust Pate. Why doesn’t he trust us?” on this blog.

7/26/2019 – LCA requests Auditor of State (AoS) investigate SoS’s usage of $1.05M in FY2019 State funds and $4.8M in Federal funds to determine if the funds have been spent on IVoters upgrades, enhancements, replacement, or security; and to determine how those expenditures benefitted taxpayers.

7/31/2019 – Published “I-Voters: Anyone looking for APTs?” on this blog.

8/1/2019 – Emailed SoS asking for the names of the county auditors assigned to the Cybersecurity Working Group touted by Secretary Pate in a 5/4/2018 press release. To date, no response from the SoS.

8/5/2019 – Published “Saying I-Voters is secure isn’t enough” on this blog.

8/9-11/2019 – LCA and Johnson County Auditor attend DEFCON Hacking Conference in Las Vegas. While there, both host a discussion group on Iowa’s voting system with ethical hackers.

8/12/2019 – Des Moines Register publishes story on my HAVA complaint and my concern that IVoters is vulnerable to hackers. SoS calls me “willfully ignorant”.

8/19/2019 – Director of Elections for SoS “accepts” HAVA complaint and notifies VRC (the presiding officer) of the Administrative Rules requirement that a schedule be established to resolve the complaint.

8/23/2019 – Secretary Pate and others attend a statewide county auditors conference in Des Moines. Pate says he came up with the $7M proposal to replace IVoters by “calling around to other states” to see what they spent to replace their voter registration systems. SoS confirms IVoters will not be upgraded prior to 2020 Presidential Election, and further indicates that no RFI (requests for information) or RFP (requests for proposals) have been issued to replace IVoters.

10/3/2019 – LCA sends PRR to SoS requesting a copy of all contracts related to IVoters since its inception through 12/31/2020.

10/18/2019 – Published “Where are your voter records stored?” on this blog.

10/22/2019 – Assistant Attorney General representing SoS indicates SoS is working on my 10/3 PRR, and they may require longer than 20 days to complete it.

10/22/2019 – Published “Iowa’s voter registration system not designed for today’s technological challenges” on this blog.

10/23/2019 – LCA sends PRR to VRC requesting documents related to IVoters status, updates, and revamp; and provides samples of VRC records containing those items.

10/24/2019 – LCA sends request for information to AoS to answer the question: How can a vendor perform work for the SoS and store voter registration records without being paid by the State?

10/30/2019 – VRC holds meeting on HAVA complaint and other topics.

By Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

 

Iowa’s voter registration system not designed for today’s technological challenges

October 22, 2019

“The system was built in 2005 and was not designed for today’s technological challenges, including cybersecurity.” 

“… technological advancements are needed to ensure the integrity of our election systems.”

“The system simply was not built for our evolving election methods.”

You write that when you ask for $7,350,000 from legislators.

Source:  An executive summary from the Iowa Secretary of State.

“You might have recently read that I-Voters will not be replaced before the 2020 elections. Replacing the system is a multiyear, multimillion-dollar project and remains on-schedule. It is not something that can or should be rushed into blindly.”

You write that when you did not do your job by replacing I-Voters prior to the 2020 Presidential Election.

Source: Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate in The Gazette on 7/29/2019

Is I-Voters secure?  Maybe we will learn the answer during my upcoming HAVA complaint hearing.  Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections #trustnverifyivoters

Where are your voter records stored?

October 18, 2019

Iowa law says county commissioners of elections are responsible for the maintenance and storage of all voter registration (VR) records and it also prohibits counties from operating VR systems separate from the Iowa Secretary of State’s (SoS) VR system.

So where are your voter records stored?

You may recall that I filed a HAVA complaint on the SoS?

In doing research for the complaint, I reviewed documentation related to the SoS winning a national award for election cybersecurity.  Specifically, I noticed two references to Arikkan, Inc – see pages 3 and 10, respectively:

In 2017, the decision was made to partner with our IVoters vendor, Arikkan, Inc. to move the statewide voter registration system to a new, privately-hosted, Criminal Justice Information Service (CJIS) compliant data center. This move transferred the system to new hardware, which offered many improvements, including next-generation intrusion detection systems. Programming changes were made for more secure access, and stronger defenses were put in place to protect personal identifiable information.
Spring 2017: The Secretary of State and Arikkan, Inc. partner to move the State Voter Registration Database (IVoters) to a new privately-hosted, CIS-compliant data center. This move transfers the system to new hardware, which offers many improvements, including next generation Intrusion Protection Systems. This also eliminates the need to replace the Iowa Secretary of State’s current infrastructure, which would have cost more than $1 million.

IVoters is the name of Iowa’s statewide voter registration system, i.e., the system all county commissioners of election are required to use.  Per the SoS, Arikkan is our IVoters “vendor” and a “partner” of the SoS.  When you search for Arikkan, you will find that it provides hosting services.

When you search the State’s checkbook for a vendor named Arikkan, you will find that the State of Iowa has never written a check to Arikkan; yet, the SoS states that Arikkan is a “partner” and a “vendor”.

I am certain there is an explanation for the preceding, but when you search for Arikkan, Arrikan, or Arrikkan on the SoS’s Business Entities Search, you also come up empty handed.

On 10/7/2019, the SoS received a public records request from me seeking information on Arikkan, Inc., as well as, other vendors related to IVoters.  I have yet to receive a response from the SoS.

So where are your voter records stored?  I do not know; and I have a right to know.  I am the custodian of those records.  –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

Additional references to Arikkan by the SoS (updated 10/22/2019):
Primary Election Voters, Eighteen Year Olds at General Election
Secretary of State Annual Report 2015
Secretary of State Presentation, 3/1/2018

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