By Wendy Corr, Ellen Fike and Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily
Following the questions about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election, county clerks in Wyoming have seen an uptick from people who are concerned with the election process.
Deputy clerk for Park County Hans Odde told Cowboy State Daily he is confident that elections in Wyoming are airtight, but there are still those who question it.
“We have had people who’ve come in and registered to vote, and a large number of them who come in from other states or communities have questions about how we run our elections,” Odde said.
“We have a fair number of folks who want to know what kind of election equipment we have, are we using Dominion products? Or do we use electronic tabulators or paper ballots? It runs run the gamut of all of the election conspiracy theories, it really does,” he said.
But Odde said that many who have moved to the area have heard good things about Wyoming’s elections.
“They’re pleased to hear that we are now taking or requesting an ID be shown at the polling location when they go to vote,” he said.
But for those who continue to have questions, Odde said there’s only so much he can only do to reassure them.
“I try and give them the confidence that hey, you’re talking to the people right here in front of you that run your election,” he said. “You can look me in the eye, you can come in and you can view our process.”
Odde said that many voters are concerned that illegal votes are being cast via absentee ballot.
“I assure them that no ballot gets mailed in Wyoming without the voter requesting a ballot,” he said. “They’re worried about illegal aliens voting, they’re worried about the theories out there that have been espoused on social media, and some on mainstream media.”
And although it’s been over a year since the last election, Odde said that the questions are still coming in.
“Election Wasn’t Stolen”
“I just had folks come in on Monday, saying, ‘We’ve got to get registered and we’ve got to vote because we don’t want this next election to be stolen.’” Odde said they seemed shocked when he says with certainty that President Biden won the election fairly.
“I’ve been to national conferences with election officials from all over this country,” he said. “And I’ve never met anyone who was involved in elections that wanted to move votes so that one candidate or another would win. I don’t see how an election official could move that many ballots without it being obvious, like a shining beacon in the night.”
Odde expressed his highest faith in the staff at the Park County Clerk’s office, as well as the Secretary of State’s Office.
“Our Secretary of State is very, very committed to cybersecurity, and making sure that our systems are not connected to the internet in any way,” he said, addressing the concern that someone could tap into the electronic voting system and change the outcome.
“I’m very proud of what we do,” he said. “And I’m very confident in what we do. I think Wyoming is extremely secure. County clerks are working with the secretary of state right now, to develop stronger rules to govern our post-election audit. We do a pre-election audit, and we do a post-election audit, and those are both required by. And we continue to try and make them stronger and more applicable to the times we’re in.”
Natrona County voters also had questions about the type of voting machines used, according to Natrona County Clerk Tracy Good. Mostly these questions surrounded the type of machines and software used and whether or not they were Dominion systems.
“Some constituents wanted to know what procedures we follow and how we know ballots are being read right,” she said.
Good explained that their 46 voting machines, one per precinct, were Election Systems and Software (ES&S) machines that were purchased by the state in 2019 for all Wyoming counties. Unlike other systems, the ES&S systems do not have modems or any ability to connect to the internet.
In a release from Wyoming Secretary of State announcing the purchase of the new voting equipment, Secretary of State Edward Buchanan referred to them as the “most secure and up-to-date voting equipment on the market.
Good confirmed the accuracy of the machines and said they perform quality control tests before all elections to make sure that ballots are being read correctly and from the appropriate precincts, including the special election yesterday that she said went well.
Other than those questions, Good said there haven’t been any requests for tours or personal visits to inquire about the process.
Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee said that other than an increase in public records requests for 2020 election results, there had not been many questions about election integrity this year during the special election.
“It’s an off year, so we didn’t have many questions,” she said. “However, I have seen more people asking about the election process. where their ballots go, things like that. I think that’s great, we want more people involved with the voting process.”
She did note that her office did have some questions about their voting machines, which are also Elections Systems and Software equipment.
Lee recommended that anyone interested in the voting machines can come to the public test of the equipment, which is always done prior to the start of early voting. The information for the public test is always publicized through the county clerk’s website.