In accordance with Iowa Code §39A.6, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller has issued a Notice of Technical Infraction and Letter of Instruction to Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate.
Auditor Miller claims that the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office has incorrectly inactivated thousands of Iowa voters in a recent No Activity mailing.
Auditor Miller has identified at least three populations who were incorrectly inactivated:
- Registered voters who were 17, but not yet 18 by the November 2020 General Election day
- Pending voters
- Deceased individuals whose voting status was already cancelled – effectively sending mailers to family members that a deceased cancelled voter was now instead an inactive voter
In Linn County alone, hundreds of incorrectly inactivated voters have been identified.
Auditor Miller contends that incorrectly inactivating voters sends a chill to voters across the state. It sows distrust and uncertainty while also discouraging voters from voting.
Auditor Miller also questions whether the Secretary of State should have sent the No Activity mailer this year. Senate File 413, which was enacted in March 2021, allows the Secretary of State to send a No Activity mailer to registered voters after a General Election if they did not vote in the General Election. Generally, new laws are not retroactively implemented. The No Activity mailer should be in place for any future elections. Instead, registered voters in 2020, whether they voted or not, were inactivated by the Secretary of State’s Office.
In addition, Auditor Miller notes that the Secretary of State has not implemented administrative rules for the inactivation process nor vetted the process with any auditors, as required by law. Auditor Miller will be consulting legal counsel on this matter.
In addition to the Notice of Technical Infraction, Auditor Miller calls on Secretary Pate to immediately create a plan for notifying voters of the error and rectifying this issue.
Auditor Travis Weipert of Johnson County joins in Auditor Miller’s concerns and demands that Johnson County voters who were incorrectly inactivated be notified and re-activated.