By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
Screenings of a film that claims to show evidence of coordinated voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election are being hosted by one of the Republican candidates for the secretary of state’s office.
Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, has hosted screenings of the Dinesh D’Souza film “2000 Mules,” which Gray said bolsters his case for an end to ballot drop boxes.
“‘2000 Mules’ clearly demonstrated how the woke, big tech left has stolen elections with ballot drop boxes,” he told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.
The secretary of state is in charge of overseeing Wyoming’s elections and Gray has cited election integrity as his primary issue for the campaign.
“It is extremely relevant for the preservation of our republic and for the secretary of state race,” he said.
Gray wants Wyoming to immediately get rid of ballot drop boxes. These boxes allow voters to turn in their absentee ballots after governmental buildings have closed for the day or without having to enter the building.
D’Souza’s movie makes use of surveillance footage and data collected through the tracking of digital devices to show what is described as thousands of people making multiple stops at ballot drop boxes to stuff them with competed ballots in key states in the 2020 presidential election.
Former President Donald Trump has embraced the movie and held its premier at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, featuring guests Republican U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida.
Nationally, a number of congressional candidates have adopted the idea that the 2020 election was tampered with. According to the New York Times, at least 72 members of Congress who voted to overturn the presidential election have won their primaries.
The movie was also shown independently from Gray’s campaign in Cody last weekend and was played at an event hosted by the Wyoming Republican Party the night before Trump made his appearance in Casper in late May.
Wyoming allows the use of secure voting drop boxes. Due to COVID-19 concerns, these were used to accept many absentee ballots in 2020.
Certain Wyoming counties like Albany and Park kept a ballot drop box for absentee ballots available for the public to access 24 hours a day, seven days a week, outside their courthouses.
Park County Clerk Colleen Renner said this was done to handle the roughly 6,000 absentee ballots people had requested from the county. She said the option was provided when many voters said they did not feel safe mailing their ballots to the county.
Her staff kept the box under constant surveillance, with multiple staff members present when it was opened twice a day.
“We haven’t decided whether we will do this again this year or not,” she said, adding the county has mailed out far fewer absentee ballots so far this year.
In Lincoln County, State Sen. President Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, also a secretary of state candidate, said his county kept its ballot box indoors and only available during business hours.
Gray has been actively campaigning throughout the state, appearing on a float in the Burns Day Parade and at forums in Hudson, Cheyenne and Worland. He also spoke at the Hot Springs County Republican Party’s Reagan Day Dinner June 3 in Thermopolis.
Dockstader has also been actively campaigning. He said he will consult with county clerks and commissioners across the state before making a decision or issuing a formal opinion about the ballot boxes, but added he has not heard of any issues with them so far.
“(Clerks) are the first in the frontline who deal with these,” he said.
Another candidate in the GOP primary for the secretary of state’s office, State Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, has also has been active on the campaign trail, making a stop in Sheridan on Wednesday and at the Wyoming Stock Growers Association’s 150th anniversary celebration held in Cheyenne last week.
Nethercott said she supports the use of outdoor ballot boxes as long as they are supervised and their security can be guaranteed.
“My position is that the need to make voting available to the public is paramount so the use of ballot boxes may be considered, but must be balanced with security to ensure secure protection,” she said.
Nethercott, who served on a task force to explore the type of voting equipment needed in Wyoming, said she was aware of only a handful of counties using the drop boxes, including her home county of Laramie. She added she believes there are adequate safeguards in place to protect the boxes.
Nethercott rejected the idea that there might have been any fraud in Wyoming’s general election of 2020.
“If any allegation is made to the contrary, it is a false statement being alleged and served to undermine our democracy,” she said.