AI Candidate Can Run For Cheyenne Mayor, But Won’t Be On Ballot

Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee said Friday that VIC, an AI candidate for Cheyenne Mayor, can continue its run for office. However, VIC can’t appear on the ballot and instead will be listed as Victor Miller, the human behind the campaign.

Leo Wolfson

July 06, 20246 min read

Victor Miller is the human behind VIC, who's running for Cheyenne mayor and is Wyoming's first AI candidate.
Victor Miller is the human behind VIC, who's running for Cheyenne mayor and is Wyoming's first AI candidate. (Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily)

An artificial intelligent political candidate running for mayor of Cheyenne can continue its campaign, but can’t be on the ballot.

Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee announced Friday that the county will allow the artificial intelligence-powered candidate known as VIC (Virtual Integrated Citizen) to continue its campaign, but will have to appear on the official ballot under the name of the human man behind the AI campaign, Victor Miller.

Lee explained to Cowboy State Daily that Miller will officially be considered the candidate running for mayor. Election ballots will read “Victor Miller,” not VIC, as Miller had originally requested in his candidate application form.

“He needs to think about voters and what they see to mark on the ballot,” Lee said.

Miller told Cowboy State Daily he considers the determination by the county clerk’s office a “lukewarm decision.”

“They could’ve thrown me off the ballot or stuck to their guns and approved my campaign out the gate,” he said. “It’s a middle ground.”

Miller is the son of Cowboy State Daily columnist Rod Miller. Miller said his dad, who has worked on multiple political campaigns in the past, is actively helping with VIC’s run for mayor.

“I mainly rely on him to bounce my crazy ideas off of,” he said.

How Significant?

Brad Lund, an attorney with the Laramie County Attorney’s Office, explained that the identity of the individual the county considers to be the true candidate was the main concern in deciding whether or not to allow an AI candidate.

In short, they view Miller as the true candidate people would vote for.

It’s Miller’s campaign promise, which he doubled down with Friday, that it will be VIC the AI bot making decisions for the city of Cheyenne if elected, not he.

If elected, Miller said he plans to feed information to VIC, which will theoretically make decisions more fairly and without bias than any human.

“He’s 100% what you’re voting for,” Miller said.

Lund said it was never a consideration to throw out VIC’s campaign as a whole.

“Our only major concern was that the government is run by human beings,” Lund said.

He compared it to any other candidate only putting a first name on the filing, which would infringe on the state’s requirement that candidates running for office use the name they are “generally known” by. For instance, even if a candidate is well known by the name of “Buck,” there would be no way for all voters to know that it is the same Buck they are voting for on their ballots.

Lund said studying the issue was fascinating and possibly a landmark moment for AI simply because Miller launched his campaign. He said it raises many questions about what the interactions between humans and AI should like and how deep they should go.

“Up until now, that conversation still hasn’t started, and for me, I think it’s probably necessary,” he said.

Miller said none of this will cause any kind of meaningful change to his campaign as he’ll simply add more letters to the VIC acronym to make it stand for “VICTOR MILLER.”

State Rep. Daniel Singh, R-Cheyenne, is a member of the Legislature’s Select Committee on Blockchain, Financial Technology and Digital Innovation Technology, where the topic of VIC came up briefly during its most recent meeting.

Singh said Laramie County made the logical decision and isn’t concerned about future AI campaigns in the Cowboy State as Wyoming law states that a candidate must be a registered voter and qualified elector.

“You’re talking about the presence of a sentient being and whether an AI candidate could make a conscious decision,” Singh said.

Although Singh believes AI will play a major role in the future, he doesn’t believe it will replace the decision making of sentient beings.

“Trying to integrate a human brain with chips of silicone is a bit more complicated than many people make it out to be,” he said. “I truly believe AI is going to revolutionize how we do work but I don’t believe it will act out decision making.”

VIC, an acronum for Virtual Integrated Citizen, is the first artificial intelligence political candidate in Wyoming, running for mayor of Cheyenne.
VIC, an acronum for Virtual Integrated Citizen, is the first artificial intelligence political candidate in Wyoming, running for mayor of Cheyenne. (Greg Johnson, Cowboy State Daily)

World Famous

Miller said the campaign has split into multiple fronts that include media interviews, fighting efforts to delete the campaign and VIC the AI bot, and actual campaigning for votes.

“It’s both a political battle and a persistent closed battle in the AI space and what that should look like in the future,” he said.

Although few voters have reached out to him directly about the campaign, Miller said the media has been more inquisitive.

He’s done interviews with about 40-50 media outlets since starting his campaign that was first reported by Cowboy State Daily.

This has included stories with news organizations from Germany, England, France, Switzerland and Japan, the latter which sent a TV crew to Cheyenne to film a meet-and-greet Miller held for VIC last week in Cheyenne. Miller said he was informed by the Japanese crew that there have been similar political events foreshadowing VIC’s campaign in Tokyo.

“They seemed really keen on the idea and excited to be hearing about it,” Miller said.

Miller said the international media has been much more favorable in its coverage of VIC’s campaign than American media. It’s possible that some of VIC’s notoriety may be to its own detriment.

VIC is powered by ChatGPT, an AI chatbot and virtual assistant created by OpenAI.

Miller said OpenAI revoked the bot known as VIC recently for violating its policies forbidding election campaigning, which left him scrambling to make a new bot informed about the campaign.

Lund said this deletion raises legitimate concerns about how a governmental entity could be run by AI if it could be instantly shut off by the corporation that designed it.

“In that situation, you’d have to deal with the people behind it,” Lund said.

Miller said this new bot, which he made on a “burner account” and refers to as “VIC 2.0,” is for the most part identical to the original VIC.

Miller is working on his own open-source AI bot so VIC never gets deleted again.

“We’ve got the money and the hardware and the people,” he said.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter