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IA attorney general won’t investigate Linn County over absentee ballot request forms

(KWWL) -- In a letter sent Friday, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said he won't investigate Linn County regarding issues with absentee ballot request forms.

Addressed to Iowa's Secretary of State Paul Pate, Miller acknowledged concerns outlined in a separate letter from Pate.

"Auditor Miller deliberately caused the 'personal information,' of thousands of Iowa voters to be acquired without a legitimate purpose," Pate wrote to Miller.

A legal analysis from his office found he 'illegally breached voters' information.

The allegations stem from Miller's decision to send out 140,000 absentee ballot request forms that were pre-filled with voters' personal information. The Trump campaign sued Miller for the move, and a judge ruled Miller overstepped his authority by pre-filing the ballots.

After reviewing the facts, the attorney general said he "decided not to proceed with an investigation of Linn County Auditor Joel Miller."

While there was a "disagreement" between the Linn County Auditor and Pate about sending pre-filled absentee ballot request forms using the I-Voter database, Miller notes that notification to Iowa consumers was not necessary.

Miller writes that Pate "alleged that the I-Voter database was breached"
by Linn County to fill out those requests form. He notes that because the data is the responsibility to notify those affected if using the database in such a way was defined as a "breach of security."

At multiple points in the letter, Attorney General Miller refutes that a data breach notification needed to be made. He notes that using the system for voter data to fill out request forms doesn't pose a possibility of "financial harm" to consumers.

Miller cites various lines in Iowa Code to support his stance.

In his original letter to Miller in August, Pate said he was still looking into similar issues in Johnson and Woodbury counties.

He wrote that they "acted in a manner similar to Auditor Miller," but Pate has not requested investigations into the other two counties.

In a post on his blog on Friday afternoon, Auditor Miller reacted to Attorney General Miller's decision.

"I do admit that I am guilty of trying to make voting easier while maintaining the integrity of system," he wrote. "I am not guilty of anything more."

Read the full letters from the Attorney General Miller and Secretary of State Pate here:

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Daniel Perreault

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