Joel Miller takes Democratic ticket for secretary of state

By: - June 7, 2022 11:21 pm

Voting booths at Friendship Baptist Church in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by Kate Kealey/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Linn County Auditor Joel Miller won the Democratic nomination for Iowa secretary of state and will run against Republican incumbent Paul Pate for the seat in November.

The Associated Press declared Miller the winner Tuesday evening with 70% of votes, while Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker received  29% with 78% of precincts reporting.

Miller, 66, of Robins, has served as Linn County auditor since 2007. He previously served on the city council and as mayor of Robins. Miller is most notably known for being one of three Iowa county auditors to be sued by former President Donald Trump for sending out pre-filled absentee ballot request forms during the pandemic.

Joel Miller is running on the Democratic ticket for secretary of state. (Photo courtesy of Joel Miller for Iowa Secretary of State)

In March 2021 Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new measure into law to shorten the early voting period in Iowa while limiting county auditors’ authority over parts of the election process. Iowans now have 20 days to vote early as opposed to 29 and polls close at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. Ballots sent by mail no longer have until noon the Monday after Election Day to still make the count. Under the new law, county auditors can only count ballots that arrive by the time polls close.

If elected in November, Miller has said he would create a system to automatically register 17-year-olds to vote while basing absentee ballot drop box placement on population as opposed to county. Miller also wants to permit county commissioners the authority to mail voter ID pin cards so voting isn’t hindered by the need of a driver’s license. 

Endorsements for Miller included the Iowa Federation of Labor and county auditors from Polk, and Woodbury County. 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Miller sent out ballot request forms pre-filled with some voter identification information, not pre-filled absentee ballots.

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Kate Kealey
Kate Kealey

Katherine Kealey is a senior majoring in journalism and political science at Iowa State University. Before interning at the Iowa Capital Dispatch, she interned at the Carroll Times Herald. She served as the editor-in-chief of the Iowa State Daily in 2022.