Voters Alarmed After Receiving Absentee Ballot Request Forms From Cheney Campaign

Upset voters have been calling county clerk offices after absentee ballot request forms were sent to homes in every Wyoming county this week on behalf of Liz Cheney's campaign.

Clair McFarland

August 05, 20224 min read

Collage Maker 05 Aug 2022 04 25 PM
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily

When a round of absentee ballot request forms landed in Wyoming mailboxes with Liz Cheney’s name on them, many people were alarmed enough to call their county clerk.  

Absentee ballot request forms were sent to homes in every Wyoming county this week on Cheney’s behalf. The mailers were marked with a return address to the county clerk of their respective counties on one side, along with the words, printed in all-capital letters, “OFFICIAL ELECTION DOCUMENT ENCLOSED.”  

On their other side, the documents featured the full request form to receive an absentee ballot.  

A notation on the request-form side read “paid for by Liz Cheney for Wyoming.”  

A slew of residents who called Fremont County Clerk Julie Freese were “upset about it,” Freese told Cowboy State Daily on Friday. “They didn’t like it at all that (the mailer) was sent to them.” 

It was legal for the pro-Cheney group to send the mailers, however. 

Although her official address was provided on the back side of the mailer, Freese announced Wednesday that she did not orchestrate the mail-out of absentee ballot requests.  

“THESE ARE NOT BEING SENT TO YOU BY THE FREMONT COUNTY CLERK’S ELECTION OFFICE,” wrote Freese’s office in all-capital letters on a press release.  

Candidates can receive a list of voters for any area they wish to reach, Freese continued in the announcement, adding that the mailer is not requiring them to vote as absentees.  

“It appears that this mailing is being sent by a candidate and you certainly do NOT have to vote absentee,” the statement continues.  

In her own interview with Cowboy State Daily, Freese said the mailers seemed “misleading” to many.   

Cheney’s spokesman Jeremy Adler did not immediately return a text and voicemail Friday  requesting comment.  

On Watch 

Although legal, mass mailings to voters by third parties to request absentee ballots haven’t been sent in her county in several years, said Freese.  

She also said she had no idea it was going to happen this time. When the practice was more common several years ago, county clerks arranged with those sending out absentee ballot requests to alert the clerk’s offices, so election officials wouldn’t accidentally send out more than one request form.  

Residents cannot receive an absentee ballot in Wyoming without requesting one.  

Now that the forms are out, Freese continued, her office is watching carefully to make sure no one can request or receive more than one absentee ballot. She also said the elections system in place informs elections officials if someone already has a ballot.  

“We’ve been doing what we do in Fremont County and in Wyoming the same way we do things always,” she said. “There are people who don’t trust elections – and we’re doing things to make sure elections are secure. And we’ll continue to do that.”  

‘Didn’t Come From Me’ 

The head of her office for more than two decades, Freese is being challenged in her own campaign for county clerk, by Kelly Rutz, of Riverton.  

Freese said Cheney’s mass mailer of “official election documents” with Freese’s official address attached does not seem to have harmed her campaign, although recipients said they found the mailer misleading.

“As clerk, (elections are) my official duty, and yeah, someone may think, ‘You’re trying to affect the races,’” she said. “But if they read (the mailer) very carefully, they’ll see it didn’t come from me. The candidate that sent it did put our address on it, because that helps (voters mail it out).”  

The Trump Divide 

Cheney is vying in the Aug. 16 Primary Election against fellow Republican contenders Harriet Hageman, Denton Knapp, Anthony Bouchard and Robyn Belinskey.  

Hageman and Cheney throughout the campaign season have challenged and rebuked one another directly, especially as Hageman is endorsed by former President Donald Trump and Cheney voted in January 2021 to impeach Trump.  

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter