Government

Joel Miller wins Democratic primary for Linn auditor

He was opposed by former Supervisor Linda Langston

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County Auditor Joel Miller won the race for his job, besting former Linn County Supervisor Linda Langston in the Democratic primary Tuesday.

Miller, 64, captured 56 percent of the 25,839 votes cast in the race, with the vast majority of the votes coming via absentee ballots for both candidates.

“I’m feeling good. I’m feeling great,” Miller said. “Between COVID-19, breaking the record for the largest (voter) turnout we’ve had ... then with all the social unrest going on, it’s been a totally not normal election from day one until today.”

ELECTION RESULTS: See primary results from other county and state races

Miller has served three full terms as county auditor after initially being elected to finish the term of his predecessor in 2007.

Miller doesn’t anticipate any competition from the Republican Party in the November general election, noting the party has generally been supportive of him in the past.

Miller believes his background in technology is of “paramount importance” to thwart election hacking, which he said has not been seen in Linn County or the state of Iowa.

The county began using iPads at polling locations two years ago and was the first county in Iowa to do so, Miller said.

“They’re set up very nicely for the future in that we could go paperless if we had the legislative authorization to do that,” Miller said.

Linn County voters requested 41,000 absentee ballots, and about 34,000 were returned, Miller said. It’s the largest voter participation in a Linn County primary since 1994.

Miller would like to see election ballots automatically sent to every eligible voter in the future for more voter participation.

“I’m not saying if we send a ballot out to every voter there will be less cost, but I think the trade-off is more participation, and that’s what democracy is about,” Miller said.

Miller would also like to see people automatically registered to vote once they turn 18, or are 17 and will turn 18 by the time of an election, he said.

Restoring formerly incarcerated residents’ voting rights after they have served their sentence is another change Miller would like to see made.

The auditor’s job pays $115,726.

“My vision since I’ve been auditor is every person engaged in local government,” Miller said. “Even though this is a primary, a lot of people engaged in this election. I’m very pleased and hope this is a prediction of things to come in November.”

Comments: (319) 398-8411; grace.king@thegazette.com

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