116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — When voters hit the polls in November 2024 to vote for Linn County auditor, Joel Miller’s name will not be on the ballot.
Miller told The Gazette on Thursday that he will not be seeking re-election to the auditor’s office.
“I am definitely not running for re-election for county auditor next year,” Miller said on Thursday. “If someone is interested in running, I’m trying to give them the time to think about it. For some people, they might need a year to think about county office.”
Miller, a Democrat, has served as Linn County’s auditor since 2007. Last November he lost to Republican Paul Pate in his bid to become Iowa Secretary of State.
“It’s time for someone else here,” he added. “Time for the next generation to step up to run for these elected offices. It’s a personal sacrifice, but they need to take over from us old people that have been in charge. It’s time for me to move out of this and get some fresh thinking and new ideas in here.”
Though he’s still thinking about what’s next, the 67-year-old won’t rule out running for political office in the future.
“There’s always that possibility,” Miller said. “If I choose to run for another office, I would not finish my term here. That’s what I told my staff. I don’t like being on the ballot and running the election. I haven’t liked doing that. That’s never been a pleasurable thing. I like to go out on election day and visit polling places and I don’t do that when I’m on the ballot myself.”
Miller did not say which office or offices he may seek.
“I live in Robins, so I’m not resigning my current job to run for city office,” Miller, a former Robins mayor said. “But there are legislative offices, county offices in 2024 and other offices you could run for. But is that what I want to do? I just know I’m not running for county auditor. That’s the one definitive thing that is there.”
Miller, whose background is in telecommunications with a career that included positions with AT&T, Teleconnect and IT at Four Oaks, also served in the U.S. Army and began his career as a Buchanan County deputy sheriff at 18.
Miller added that last year’s election, which included a mistake from his office that left the district 1 supervisor race off ballots in Putnam Township, was not a factor in his decision to not seek re-election.
“I didn't like what happened. I'm embarrassed by it and frustrated by it. It's unfortunate, but in the end, I am accountable and I own it. If I was younger, I'd run again,” he said. “I just think running and administering elections is becoming a young person's sport and not for people my age.”
He said he had entertained the possibility of not running again in 2020 when he had a son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Milwaukee, but after they moved to the Cedar Rapids area, he changed his mind.
“Now I already get to see my grandkids all the time,” Miller said.
Miller said the election law changes that came from the state Legislature in 2021 are a main motivation to leave the office.
“Elections used to be a lot more fun than they are. More restrictions were placed on voting and no matter how much people like to tout record turnout, we are misrepresenting the percentage of the overall population with people who aren’t even registered to vote,” he said. “Those laws basically changed everything in my opinion.”
Miller said so far, he has not found a successor in his own office, and no one else has expressed interest in running for Linn County’s auditor. The office has around 17 full-time employees and an annual budget of about $2 million.
“I’ve reached out to fellow auditors to see if they were interested or knew somebody, but I didn’t get any names to follow up on,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, no deputy here is interested in running for the spot. I have polled them. They want to keep doing what they’re doing. But that was the case when I got contacted by my predecessor for the job. Nobody in the office at the time wanted to be county auditor.”
Miller said before he leaves office, he would like to make deputy auditors management positions rather than political-appointed positions.
“I’m trying to leave the office in good shape to carry on regardless of who gets elected,” he said. “I’ve got a good crew here.”
But Miller has a lot to think about from now until 2024, when his term will end. He said he may also do something else.
“I was really interested in ride-sharing technology a couple years ago and unbeknownst to almost everyone, I became an Uber driver for a bit because I wanted to see how it worked,” Miller said. “But I want to do fun things like that, volunteer for organizations I feel strongly about. I just think God’s been good to me. I’m in good health. I want to continue to do things.”
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