Wyoming voters jotted down some interesting write-in candidates in this year’s primary election, some real and some imagined. Not all Wyoming counties publicly posted the write-in names cast in their counties, but judging from the counties that did, voters have varied taste in leadership.
In Sweetwater County, one voter wrote in Walt Longmire in the race for county sheriff. Longmire was the name of the main character in the Western TV show “Longmire.” Longmire presided over the fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming as sheriff. Since Longmire is not a Sweetwater County resident and a fictional character, the vote for him did not count.
Cynthia Lane, Sweetwater County clerk, said many people requested that write-in names be listed in the county’s election results, so she and her staff abided by the request.
“We had quite a few people asking,” she said.
In the race for Sweetwater county coroner, write-in candidates played a significant role, as there was no Republican entered in the race. Spencer Fox received 41 write-in votes and qualified to have his name on the ballot in the general election but declined the opportunity.
Lane said write-in candidates can hold a particularly relevant role in elections for positions where more than one candidate is selected from relatively low-population areas, such as small-town mayors and party precinct committee members.
In the Northwest Wyoming town of Frannie, population 212, there were no candidates who ran for mayor. Write-in mayoral candidates Steven Richardson and Vance Peregoy will have the chance to advance to the general election with eight and seven votes, respectively.
In the Republican Senate 23 race in Campbell County, write-in candidate Patricia Junek received 814 votes, losing by a 51% margin of the vote.
There were 5,714 write-in votes cast in statewide elections in Wyoming.
To qualify for the general election as a write-in candidate when there is a candidate officially entered into a race, a write-in candidate must have at least 25 votes and more votes than other write-in candidates. If they choose to run, they must pay the same filing fee as the other candidates already participating in the race.
C.J. Baker, a Park County elections staffer, said the Secretary of State’s Office asked the 23 county clerks to look at the Democratic write-in results in the races for secretary of state, state treasurer and state auditor to look and see if any Democratic candidate received 25 or more votes, potentially qualifying them for a race on the statewide ballot in the general election. No Democrat was officially running in any of these races.
In Sweetwater County, a wide selection of write-in names was cast for Democratic Secretary of State. Some of these included Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, Democratic governor candidate Rex Wilde and “Nether Cott.” It is unclear who Cott may be, but it is likely a reference to State Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, who was already running in the Republican primary for Secretary of State. Wilde was written in for Democratic State Treasurer, as was Cheney. Candidates known as “Allen” and “Cowan” were also voted for in that race.
In Platte County, a candidate known as “Grady” was written in as a Democratic candidate for county sheriff.
Lane said the county also got its fair share of “Mickey Mouse” and “Donald Duck” written in, but since those characters aren’t Sweetwater residents, votes cast for the Disney stars also don’t count.
In the race for Democratic State Auditor, where there was also no candidate running, Cheney’s name was also listed. State Auditor Kristi Racines, who is running as a Republican for reelection, was listed 12 times. A “Kalista Racines” was also written down.
Racines also got five write-in votes in the Democratic Auditor race in Platte County.
Baker said he saw a few “none of the above” and “anybody else” candidates listed in Park County. “Channey” was also listed as a Democratic Secretary of State write-in candidate there.
In Platte County, a “Jim Gray” was listed as a Democratic Secretary of State candidate. This could have been in reference to State Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, who won the Republican primary for this position.
Linda Fabian, executive secretary of the Wyoming Historical Society, was written in as a Democratic candidate for State Treasurer. Dan Kirkbride, a former Republican state legislator, was listed as a Democratic write-in for State Auditor.