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Joel Miller says he's running for secretary of state to 'make voting easy again'

Joel Miller, the Democrat running for secretary of state, spoke on the first Saturday of the state fair.
Lucius Pham
Joel Miller, the Democrat running for secretary of state, speaks at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday.

Democratic candidate for Iowa secretary of state Joel Miller said Saturday that he is running to “make voting easy again.”

Speaking at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, Miller said he wants Iowa to have automatic voter registration. He said he’d also prioritize allowing counties to have more than one absentee ballot dropbox. And he wants to create a permanent absentee ballot request so voters don’t have to file a form each time they want to vote absentee.

Miller criticized his opponent, Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate, for not speaking out against GOP-backed voting laws that gave Iowans less time to vote.

“I would stand opposed to any more restrictions on voting regulations,” Miller said. “And if the legislature proposes them, I’ll be there fighting for you. Because I’m going to put voters first. Not once, but every time.”

Miller has been Linn County Auditor since 2007, overseeing election administration in that county.

He touted his work to make voting more accessible, some of which resulted in lawsuits. In 2020, former President Donald Trump’s campaign sued him for sending absentee ballot request forms to Linn County voters that were pre-filled with voters’ personal information. A judge ruled in favor of the Trump campaign.

Last year, Miller had blank absentee ballot request forms printed in a local newspaper so that voters who don’t have a printer could use them.

Secretary of State Paul Pate is running for a fourth term in office. As of Saturday, Pate did not appear on the schedule of Soapbox speakers. All candidates for statewide office were invited to speak there.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter