DES MOINES — The Democrat running to be Iowa’s top election official says Governor Reynolds and her fellow Republicans in the legislature have made it far more difficult to vote by mail or vote early at a county auditor’s office.
“When you’re delivering government services, it’s supposed to be about making things convenient,” Joel Miller said on the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. “It’s supposed to be making your product and service more accessible. That’s not what the 2021 laws did.”
Miller has been Linn County’s Auditor for over 15 years.
“We used to have 40 days of early voting in 2016. Now we have 20,” Miller said. “It used to be the deadline to submit an absentee ballot request to a county auditor was three days before the election. Now it’s 15 days before the election.”
Miller said 101 Linn County voters missed that deadline to vote early in the June Primary and half of them wound up not voting. Other county auditors saw a similar drop off according to Miller.
“That can have huge ramifications this fall,” Miller said.
Miller is challenging Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate’s bid for reelection. Miller questions why Pate is spending office resources on his Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking initiative.
“I am against human trafficking. I’m sure you’re against human trafficking, but there’s an office to combat human trafficking within the Department of Public Safety that’s been there almost 10 years,” Miller said at the Fair. “Go look up the duties of the Secretary of State. You will not find any duties related to human trafficking…Yes, he’s bringing visibility, but he’s wasting tax dollars.”
The Secretary of State’s office is where businesses in Iowa register their trade names and earlier this year Pate said he aims to build a statewide coalition of businesses who share the goal of ending human trafficking in Iowa. An Iowa Republican Party spokesman says Pate’s record of “safe ad secure elections speaks for itself,” as turnout has been increasing alongside new election integrity measures.