Hon. Paul Pate
Secretary of State
Office of Iowa Secretary of State
14 January 2022
Dear Secretary Pate:
RE: THE MAILING OF VOTER REGISTRATION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OR ID CARDS TO VOTERS
As our State nears the completion of redistricting, county auditors are still awaiting an answer to a frequently asked question: Will the Office of Iowa Secretary of State (SoS) be mailing new voter registration acknowledgement or ID cards (mailers) to Iowa voters?
The Office of Linn County Auditor (LCA) has reached out to the SoS on numerous occasions offering to assist with a mailer. In addition, the LCA has asked the SoS to identify the proper I-Voter’s export to be used by counties to prepare for sending a mailer. Neither query has received a definitive response.
During redistricting Q&A sessions hosted by the SoS, other county auditors have inquired about an SoS mailer. The repeated response by the SoS is: “We will let you know in a couple of days”.
The Iowa State Association of County Auditors’ uses a chatroom to ask questions and share ideas. On 13 January 2022, county auditors asked each other: Is the SoS going to send out a statewide mailer? No county auditor knew the answer.
The only answer given thus far by the SoS is: County auditors can do a polling place change notice as the primary election nears.
New district information and polling place changes need to be communicated to Iowa voters. Not doing a mailer as soon as redistricting is complete allows bad actors to steal our narrative, spew misinformation, and concoct conspiracy theories about our elections.
My constituents are asking the LCA for updated district, precinct and polling place information, and we should be providing them a mailer which contains that information; not just to those who ask, but to every registered voter.
County auditors want to be proactive in addressing the changes brought about by redistricting. And in the case of our (we both reside in Linn County) county, I do not want Linn County taxpayers paying for a mailer twice, i.e., via tax dollars spent on a mailer by the LCA and then by the SoS.
In addition, our paper suppliers are advising the LCA to stock up on paper required for the 2022 elections. If counties are going to be required to send out mailers, then we need to order the paper now, to ensure voters receive the mailer so they have plenty of time to engage with the candidates that will be on their ballots.
Secretary Pate, the decision to send out a mailer should be a no-brainer for you. Your Republican predecessor sent out a mailer and counties avoided the duplication of cost and effort associated with sending out mailers on a countywide basis.
I look forward to your timely reply to this letter.
Joel D. Miller
Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections