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Election Season Opens In Wyoming With Absentee Balloting

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By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily

The 2022 election season opened in Wyoming on Friday with the commencement of absentee and early voting across the state. 

Thousands of ballots were mailed out to voters throughout the state while many other ballots were cast in person by voters at their local county courthouses.

The 2020 election was a year defined by record absentee and early voting turnout. After opening day Friday, a small collection of data shows this trend may be continuing.

“It may well be a trend,” said Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee. “A lot of people weren’t aware they could request an absentee ballot.”

In Laramie County, 1,844 absentee ballots were requested as of Friday. Although there were nearly 9,000 requested in 2020, Lee said only around 700 were requested during the last non-presidential year in 2018. 

The same goes for opening day early voting, as 158 people cast their vote in her offices Friday, compared to the 103 who did so in 2018.

“We had more than we anticipated,” Lee said. “It’s been steady all day.”

Absentee Ballots

To request an absentee ballot, voters must contact their local elections offices. The ballots can be picked up in person or can be mailed. 

The mailing date for absentee ballots complies with the statutory deadline to mail the ballots 45 days prior to the election. 

Absentee voting allows residents who are living overseas, are in the military, those who will be out of town the day of the election, or those who do not feel comfortable voting in person to cast their vote. These ballots can be mailed back to the office or brought back in person.

Any registered voter may request an absentee ballot in person, by phone or email any day prior to the day of the election, but Kaitlyn Johnson, a staff member in the Park County Elections department, advises planning ahead as these ballots will not be accepted after 7 p.m. election night. The primary election is on Aug. 16 and the general election is on Nov. 8. 

To register, a photo ID and proof address are required.

Early Voting

Early voting is different from absentee voting in that it is a process where people cast their votes inside their county election offices. Johnson said about a dozen people came into her office on Friday to cast their early ballots.

“People should take advantage of the many ways of voting in Wyoming,” Johnson said.

Johnson said more people have requested absentee ballots — 752 since January — than have cast early votes.

Still, this number pales in comparison to requests made for absentee ballots made in 2020, a record year for absentee ballots nationwide due to COVID-19 concerns.

“2020 was an anomaly,” Lee said.

Election Equipment

On Thursday, Fremont County performed its biennial test of its election equipment. The test was run by county clerk Julie Freese and her staff, joined by Fremont County Republican Chairman Ginger Bennett, Republican Party representatives and a Fremont County Democrat party representative.

The staff prepared a selection of ballots for each precinct and each race. These ballots were fed through the vote tabulator in the presence of the witnesses. 

“Every conceivable malfunction of the machine was tested,” Bennett said.

The numbers were tabulated, and all parties agreed the totals matched numbers prepared by the clerk’s office prior to the process, Bennett said.

Once this confirmation was made, the machines were set back to zero and locked.

“This process will be completed for each machine used in the 2022 Election cycle to assure that the vote tabulation prepared by the county clerk is an accurate reflection of the votes cast by people voting in Fremont County,” Bennett said.

Higher Than Average

Lee said aside from 2020, early voting turnout Friday was higher than the historical average.

Ballot boxes placed outside government offices to collect early votes have become a controversial topic following the 2020 election because of the movie “2000 Mules” movie, which alleged similar ballot boxes around the country were compromised by ballot stuffers.

Johnson said Park County is not planning to put these boxes outside the courthouse as it did in 2020, while Laramie County will place its boxes outside.

“They are fixed in concrete and bolted to the concrete,” Lee said.`

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Park County Group Testifies Against Hand Counting Ballots From 2020 Election

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By Leo Wolfson, political reporter
Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com

Representatives from a Park County civil liberty advocacy group are opposing a consideration in the county to hand count ballots from the 2020 election.

“There is an undue privilege being allowed to this group or any other group to recount,” said Renee Tafoya, a representative with Wyoming Rising, during a Park County commissioner meeting on Tuesday.

In May, the Park County Commissioners said they would consider allowing a group of local citizens to hand count the more than 17,000 ballots cast in the 2020 election in that county to determine the accuracy of the results presented by the machines.

Bryan Skoric, Park County prosecuting attorney, said he would seek guidance from the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office on the matter. At the commissioner meeting on Tuesday, the commissioners said they still had not heard back from the AG.

The proposal submitted by Cody resident Boone Tidwell and the Park County Republican Men’s Club, which later changed its name to The Sons of Freedom, was to test the accuracy of voting machines by hand counting every single ballot cast in this year’s county primary and general elections. That request was rejected, but a second proposition to count the 2020 results is still on the table.

No other Wyoming county has given this level of consideration to a hand count, but several counties around the country have recently decided to start making steps toward doing so, and certain locations already count their votes this way.

Tafoya and Phyllis Roseberry, both members of the Wyoming Rising leadership team, said allowing the hand count would be a waste of taxpayer money and create suspicion and doubt where none should exist. They also warned the commissioners about possible legal action they could incur if granting approval for the hand count but provided no legal testimony to substantiate this argument.

“To grant this group would cast doubt onto the Secretary of State’s Office and the entire election,” Roseberry warned.

The cost of doing a hand count could actually be minimal to the county, as Tidwell said his group will commit to not accepting any payment for the training they would receive to become election judges, a necessary requirement to inspect the ballots. But, county staff would still have to spend time and wages training these individuals.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a vocal proponent of former President Donald Trump’s stolen 2020 election claims, recently said those who don’t believe the Wyoming election was rigged are traitors.

Tidwell said previously, he has grave concerns there will be a low turnout for this year’s elections due to lack of trust. Tafoya expressed doubt about this claim and said there are “thousands” of people in Wyoming who trust current election security. 

“It’s meant to undermine trust in elections,” Tafoya said of the hand ballot proposal. “The claims of fraud are out of left field; they’re trying to cast doubt instead of trying to actually find fraud.”

Tidwell described Tafoya and Roseberry’s presentation as “fear porn.”

“No substance. Full of lies,” he said.

The commissioners held no discussion in response, but Commissioner Joe Tilden said he agrees with Roseberry and Tafoya.

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Embattled Laramie County DA Does Not File; Former City Attorney Sylvia Hackl Enters Race

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20219

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

In the final day for Wyoming’s primary election candidate filings, two challengers finally emerged for Laramie County district attorney. However, neither of the candidates is the incumbent.

Former Cheyenne City Attorney Sylvia Hackl and Thomas Callison, with Legal Aid of Wyoming, both filed with the Laramie County clerk’s office on Friday, just hours before the filing period closed, as candidates for the office now held by embattled District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove.

Hackl told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that she decided to run because no one else had filed for the office and she felt it was important to have someone on the ballot.

“I personally think some other attorneys who might have been interested in running are waiting to see how the situation with the current DA would unfold,” she said. “But when we got to the afternoon of the last filing date, I thought we had to have someone on the ballot.”

Callison did not immediately respond to a Cowboy State Daily request for comment on Friday.

Hackl believes she has the skill set to guide the DA’s office back to a “fully-functioning, efficient” one that is able to work with all stakeholders in the community, including law enforcement, judges and crime victims.

Hackl said she has 22 years of experience in criminal law, along with trial experience gained during her years as a public defender and with the Wyoming Attorney General’s office.

Hackl said she was asked by former Gov. Jim Geringer to solve problems in the state public defender’s office, an experience she said shows she can take control of an office in chaos and get it reorganized and running efficiently.

The Wyoming Supreme Court is deciding whether to bar Manlove from the practice of law as recommended by the Board of Professional Responsibility, a group that oversees the behavior of the state’s lawyers.

The BPR has ruled that Manlove is not competently fulfilling the duties of her office. Among other things, she has been accused of exaggerating budget cuts on her office to justify dismissing hundreds of cases in Laramie County courts.

As a licensed attorney, Manlove could still run for the office. State law requires a person running for the office to have a license to practice law. However, there is no such requirement to hold the office.

Hackl said she wanted to maintain a distance between herself and the Manlove proceedings because she did not feel they should be a part of her campaign.

Establishing a strong, capable staff in the DA office is one of her top priorities, if elected, she said.

“It’s important to find out what the staff’s concerns are and move forward with them appropriately,” Hackl said. “Most of the people I have worked with would say I’m straightforward, open and I communicate well. If somebody wants to know where they stand, they will know in a very polite, professional way.”

However, she jokingly added that her daughter may not quite agree with that sentiment.

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No One Has Filed To Run For Laramie County District Attorney, Including The Current One

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

With only one day left in Wyoming’s candidate filing period for the August primary election, not one person had filed to run for Laramie County District Attorney, including the incumbent.

According to Laramie County election filings, no one had filed to run for Laramie County DA as of Thursday afternoon. The filing period ends at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that if no one files to run for the position by the end of the filing period, then voters will have the option of writing in a candidate during the primary.

“So we look at the names and see if any of them have sufficient votes to bring them forward to the general election,” she said.

The current DA, Leigh Anne Manlove, has faced many issues during her one term in office. Earlier this year, she was found to have failed to competently perform the duties of her office by the Wyoming State Bar’s Board of Professional Responsibility, the group that oversees the behavior of attorneys.

The charges against Manlove, elected to office in 2018, included allegations she exaggerated the impact of budget cuts on her office to dismiss hundreds of cases from Laramie County courts.

The Board of Professional Responsibility recommended to the Wyoming Supreme Court that Manlove be barred from the practice of law The Supreme Court will make the final decision on the recommendation.

Manlove cannot be removed from her elected post.

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Longtime Wyo County Clerk: Democrats Registering As GOP To Vote In Cheney Race

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By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily 

Some Wyoming Democrats are switching parties to register as Republicans for the upcoming primary election, according to a longtime county clerk, prompting her to urge voters to practice their own form of election integrity.

Incumbent U.S. Representative Liz Cheney, who was censured by her own party in February, is being challenged in the Republican primary election for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat by Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman and others.  

Julie Freese, Fremont County’s clerk for 28 years, said she is hearing on-the-ground commentary from traditional Democrats saying they’re registering as Republicans solely to vote for Cheney in the Republican primary.

“We have had people come in recently to change from Democrat to Republican,” Freese told Cowboy State Daily, “and they have told us, ‘I am changing my party to vote for Liz Cheney.’ That’s what they’ve said, flat out.”  

Not everyone who makes the switch tells the clerk’s staff why they’re doing it, she added.  

“If they aren’t telling us why they’re doing it, it’s private,” Freese said, adding that “a large amount of people… are not telling us why they’re changing.”  

Freese said she could not accurately estimate what percentage of crossover voters are making the change to influence the Republican primary.  

“But that’s what the frustration is,” she added. “It’s been pretty boldly stated in the last two or three elections (including the current one) that they’re doing it to affect the other party’s race somehow.”  

Freese later clarified at a Fremont County Republican central committee meeting that in her duties as a clerk, she wouldn’t interfere with crossover voting because statute allows for it, but as an individual, she disagrees with it.  

Party Shift On The Reservation 

Every legislative district in Fremont County is predominantly Republican as of this week, which, because of the traditional Democratic leanings of one House district, is an unusual shift.  

House District 33 covers the Wind River Indian Reservation, which traditionally votes for Democratic presidential candidates and has elected Democratic state Rep. Andi LeBeau of Ethete, to the Legislature in the last two elections.

Bring Your Best 

The primary election “is the time for the two (major political) parties to take their best candidates to the general election,” Freese told Cowboy State Daily.    

Freese emphasized that primary elections are designed to be party-specific so true party members on either side can choose the candidate they favor before sending that candidate on to challenge the other party in the general election.  

“That’s the crux of the matter,” said Freese. “This is a political party process – and there are some that are playing the politics.”  

She clarified that the process of crossing from Democrat to Republican, which is one form of “crossover voting,” is and has been popular in Wyoming for years, for various reasons – some more benign than others. 

“It has evolved over the years,” said Freese. “In all my years, (registered Democrats) have said, ‘I don’t have anything on my (primary) ballot, and this is an exciting race.’”  

Freese noted that because most Wyoming counties are predominantly Republican, many Democrats receive blank or nearly-blank ballots for the primary election and regret not being able to determine the Republican candidate for a sheriff’s seat, or a county commissioner’s seat, for example.  

Because a legislative bill seeking to ban crossover voting in Wyoming failed in the state Legislature this session, the practice remains legal in the state, regardless of the reasons behind it.  

Freese told Fremont County Republican central committee members at a Monday meeting that she didn’t have much faith in the practicality of an anti-crossover voting law and would prefer for voters to practice political integrity on their own.  

“People are going to find a way to get to where they want to get,” she said, addressing the failed bill. “As soon as they figure out what they can’t do – they’re going to do what they have to, to get to that (desired party).  

“In any talks I’ve had,” continued Freese, “I’ve said, this is (the party’s) time to find the best candidate… it’s a process and I realize you want to be involved. Be involved by being one or the other party and maybe stay that way (when the ideology fits).”  

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Cheney Leads In Total Fundraising, Still Trails In Money From Wyoming

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney continued to lead all of her GOP primary challengers in fundraising for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat for the first quarter of 2022, but trailed her former political ally Harriet Hageman in raising money in Wyoming.

Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday showed that Cheney raised $2.9 million in the quarter, which ended March 31, to bring her total donations for her re-election campaign to $10.1 million.

So far during her campaign for a fourth term, almost 6% of Cheney’s donations, about $604,000, have been contributed by California residents, making California Cheney’s biggest donor of the campaign.

Wyoming came in eighth in Cheney’s list of donor states at $202,360, behind California, Texas, Florida, New York, Virginia, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

Most of Hageman’s $2 million in contributions, which includes $1.3 million raised in the first quarter of 2022, came from Wyoming donors, according to FEC figures. 

Hageman’s report showed that of her donations so far in her campaign, she has received $363,430 from Wyoming contributors.

The situation is similar with state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, who has raised $649,840 in his bid to unseat Cheney, $55,081 from Wyoming residents.

Most of the donations for Denton Knapp’s campaign, $5,900, have come from California, his reports showed, followed by Wyoming at $4,850.

The FEC reports also show that most of Cheney’s contributions, about $2.74 million, came from donors giving $2,000 or more, while most of Hageman’s, $694,198, came from donations of $200 or less. Most of Bouchard’s contributions, $461,115, also came from donations of $200 or less.

So far this year, Cheney has also spent more than her opponents, spending about $882,869 to bring her total expenses for her campaign to $3.5 million.

Hageman spent $639,589 in the first quarter of the year to bring her total spending for the campaign to $1 million, while Bouchard spent $10,544 in the first three months of the year to bring his total disbursements to $599,904.

The Republican primary to select the GOP candidate for Wyoming’s House seat will be Aug. 16. So far, no Democrats have registered to run, although one member of the Constitution Party, Marissa Joy Selvig has registered.

Other Republicans seeking the party’s nomination include Bryan Eugene Keller and Robyn Marie Belinskey.

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Secretary of State Ed Buchanan Announces Reelection Campaign

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy Stat Daily

Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, Wyoming’s chief elections official, on Monday announced he will be seeking a second term.

In announcing his campaign, Buchanan, who was appointed to the secretary of state’s office in 2018, said he achieved the goals he set for himself upon taking office as the second-highest elected official in the state.

However, he added he has some new ideas should he be re-elected to a second term.

“I have some great ideas on how we can continue to give our customers world-class service and how we can ensure our elections remain secure and efficient,” he said. 

Buchanan said his successes in his first term included revenue increases of 9% for the secretary of state’s Business Division, which “helped us remain a tax-friendly state.”

The state’s Election Division has been the subject of some allegations of problems with election integrity, but Buchanan has actively denounced charges that Wyoming’s elections were compromised and promoted improvements to the voting system in the state.

“We deployed secure and efficient election equipment for the 2020 election season and updated our election code, culminating in the passage of Voter ID,” Buchanan said.

The office also upgraded the state’s notary and security laws, he added.

“We did this all without interruption, remaining open for business during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.  

Over the last year, Buchanan has traveled the state seeking to correct what he has called the major myths about the 2020 elections.

Just last month, Buchanan was in Converse County where he gave the same presentation about election integrity and explained why Wyoming’s voting equipment could not be hacked

“Disinformation about election integrity is widespread,” Buchanan said. “In fact, spreading false information is one of the most common methods of attack used by those seeking to disrupt our elections.”

Buchanan said he looked forward to traveling the state and presenting “some great ideas” on how elections will remain “secure and efficient.”

Buchanan was appointed to the secretary of state’s office by former Gov. Matt Mead following the resignation of former Secretary of State Ed Murray in 2018. Buchanan won election to his first full term in 2018 defeating Democrat James Byrd.

Before being appointed secretary of state Buchanan served in Wyoming’s Legislature, acting as House Speaker from 2011 to 2013.

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Wyoming Senate Passes Crossover Voting Bill On Third Reading

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A bill intended to keep voters from changing parties to influence the outcome of primary elections won final approval from the Senate on Friday.

The Senate passed Senate File 97, sending it to the House of Representatives on a vote of 18-12 after lengthy debate.

If Senate File 97 is signed into law, it would specify that people wishing to change party affiliation would have to do so about three months prior to a primary election or between the primary and general elections. Currently, voters may change party affilitation up to the day of a primary or general election.

“I vote for people because I think they’re the best,” Sen. Mike Gierau, D-Jackson, said during the floor debate. “To be honest, I’ve had a couple friends on the other side who’ve crossed over and voted for me. But they ain’t gonna be able to do it no more, if this bill passes.”

Gierau was one of the 12 senators who voted against the bill, joining Sens. Dan Furphy, R-Laramie, Drew Perkins, R-Casper, and Chris Rothfuss, D-Laramie.

But senators agreed with arguments such as the one expressed during a committee meeting by bill sponsor Sen. Bo Biteman, R-Ranchester, that the bill will discourage voters from changing parties to vote for the weaker candidate in a primary.

“It’s just to prevent people from gaming the system,” he said.

Biteman told the committee he was attempting to stop Democrats from waiting to see who runs in Republican elections and changing their party affiliations in order to affect the outcome of the Republican primary and general elections.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do and I think it’s time we change that,” Biteman said.

Senators voting for the bill in its final Senate reading include Sens. Anthony Bouchard and Tara Nethercott, both R-Cheyenne, Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower and Senate President Dan Dockstader, R-Afton.

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Senate Ag Committee Unanimously Supports Crossover Voting Bill

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A measure aimed at keeping voters from changing parties to influence the outcome of primary elections won unanimous support Wednesday from the Senate Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Committee.

The committee voted 5-0 to send the measure to the full Senate for debate.

The committee recommended slightly amending the bill’s language to better clarify the deadline for people looking to change their party affiliation before a primary or general election.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Bo Biteman, R-Ranchester, who testified on the importance of the legislation before the committee late Tuesday.

“It’s just to prevent people from gaming the system,” he said.

Current Wyoming law allows voters to change their party affiliations as late as the day of a primary or general election.

If Senate File 97 is signed into law, it would specify that people wishing to change party affiliation would have to do so about three months prior to a primary election or between the primary and general elections.

Sen. R.J. Kost, R-Powell, questioned whether someone who moved into a district after the cut-off date would be allowed to register to vote. Biteman clarified that the person would be allowed to register and vote, but would be unable to switch party affiliations during that time.

Biteman also noted that the legislation would not affect any new voter registrations that might occur after the cutoff date, such as when a voter turns 18 or moves into Wyoming from another state.

The cutoff date for voters to change their party affiliation would be around 97 days before the primary election and one day before the filing deadline for candidates.

Biteman told the committee he was attempting to stop Democrats from waiting to see who runs in Republican elections and changing their party affiliations in order to affect the outcome of the Republican primary and general elections.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do and I think it’s time we change that,” Biteman said.

Wyoming Elections Division Director Kai Schon said that as written, the legislation could be implemented with only a small, one-time fiscal impact due to the change of the statewide voter registration system and the state electronic pollbook.

The estimated cost would be a little more than $12,000, and the changes would be implemented next year, he said.

Mary Lankford, Sublette County Clerk, spoke as a representative of county clerks across the state, along with Fremont County Clerk Julie Friess.

Lankford said the state’s county clerks were mostly in support of the legislation, but wanted more clarification for the cutoff date.

Lankford said the clerks were concerned about non-partisan voters in the state becoming disenfranchised due to the legislation. She said that many voters in the state have no affiliation and wait until they see who is running to decide which election to participate in.

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Wyoming Bill To Open Primaries To All Voters Dies

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A measure that would have ended single-party primary elections in Wyoming was rejected by House members on Friday.

House Bill 152, which would have turned primary elections into “qualifying events” for general elections, was defeated on a vote of 14-46.

“This makes it so (a primary election) becomes a qualifying event,” said Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson, the bill’s main sponsor. “Everyone gets to choose at the qualifying event and then the top two would move into the top spaces in the general election.”

Yin said he proposed the measure because too often, only one person is on the general election ballot for office and that person has been chosen through one party’s primary election.

“What I want to see is for everyone to be able to make the choice of who goes into that seat,” he said. “I don’t want that choice to be made by some sub-group of the population. This way it becomes the best person wins in the general election, where you have every voter having a say in who gets seated.”

The measure was rejected without debate.

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Wyoming GOP Passes Resolution To Support Runoff Elections

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Republican Party passed a resolution over the weekend supporting runoff elections, although the Wyoming Legislature killed a bill earlier this year that would have established just such a system.

The resolution the organization passed during its State Central Committee meeting in Buffalo over the weekend called for a runoff election to be held if no candidate in an election receives a majority of the votes cast.

In races with three or more candidates, it is possible for a candidate to win even though he or she might win less than 50% of the votes cast.

“Whereas, in plurality election outcomes, when more than two candidates are running for the same office, may not be representative of a simple majority of the electorate and consequently, lack of the mandate of the people,” the resolution said.

A bill that would have called for a runoff election to be held between the leading two candidates in a race if no candidate received a majority of the votes cast in the primary election died in the Legislature during the spring session.

Senate File 145 was narrowly defeated in its third reading in the Senate on a vote of 14-15.

Former President Donald Trump said in July that Wyoming should have a runoff election to get U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney out of office.

In a statement, Trump said that Wyoming voters want a clear majority winner in the Republican primary for the state’s lone U.S. House seat and the only mechanism that accomplishes this is a runoff election, “pitting the top two candidates against each other.”

“Conservative Republicans in the Wyoming State Legislature like Senator Bo Biteman and Representative Chip Nieman led this effort. Unfortunately and sadly for Wyoming voters, RINO State Legislators stood in the way, defeating the Run-Off Election bills,” Trump.

Earlier this year, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. voiced his support for run-off elections in the state as well.

The younger Trump framed his argument in support of the bill as opposition to Cheney, one of a handful of Republicans in the U.S. House to vote for the impeachment of the former president.

“The easiest way to defeat Deplorable Liz Cheney is by having only ONE Conservative candidate run and WIN! Wyoming Patriots will no longer stand for Nancy Pelosi and her new lapdog RINO Liz Cheney!” the elder Trump said in July.

Cheney handily won both the primary and general elections in 2020. In her first bid for Congress in 2016, she won almost 40% of the votes cast in the Republican primary, but not a majority of all votes cast.

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County Clerks In Wyoming Hear Increased Questions About Election Integrity

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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

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

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. 

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Federal Judge Rules Wyoming Election Day Campaign Limits Unconstitutional

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A Wyoming law prohibiting campaign activities within 300 feet of a polling place on election days is unconstitutional because the “buffer zone” is unreasonably large, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal, in a July 22 order, ruled in support of arguments that the law banning “electioneering” within 100 yards of a polling place is an unreasonable restriction on First Amendment rights to free speech.

“(The state and county) did not meet their burden to demonstrate that the statute’s 100-yard electioneering buffer zone is ‘reasonable and does not significantly impinge on constitutionally protected rights,’” Freudenthal’s order said.

Freudenthal also overturned a portion of the state law placing restrictions on bumper stickers placed on cars within 100 yards of polling places, but upheld the state’s ban on electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place during the state’s absentee voting period.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed against the state and Laramie County by John Frank and Grassfire, LLC. Frank said he wanted to display and share campaign signs, literature, bumper stickers and other materials within 100 yards of the polling place at Laramie County Community College.

Grassfire, a political consulting company, said it wanted to gather signatures on petitions within 100 feet of the Laramie County Governmental Complex during absentee voting and the 100-foot barrier in effect during those periods would prevent the company from working on the sidewalk surrounding the building.

Neither Frank nor Grassfire have taken part in electioneering activities at either location in the past.

State law prohibits activities such as displaying campaign signs, distributing campaign literature or soliciting signatures from people within 100 yards of a polling place during election days and within 100 feet of polling places when absentee votes are being cast. It allows the display of bumper stickers within those areas, but places size restrictions on the bumper stickers and allows the car carrying the stockers to be parked in the area only as long as is required for its driver to vote.

Frank and Grassfire argued the 300-foot buffer zone on election days is unreasonably large and  interferes with rights to free speech.

Freudenthal cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld similar restrictions within a 100-foot area surrounding a polling place, but agreed that 100 yards is too large.

“(The state and county) have presented no argument — and offered no evidence — to explain why the statute requires an electioneering buffer zone much larger than the regulation upheld (by the U.S. Supreme Court),” the order said.

The Legislature set the buffer zone during absentee voting at 100 feet, Freudenthal said.

“The record is silent as to why a different zone was selected by the Legislature for this period given that the state concedes its interests are no different,” she wrote. 

Freudenthal also said there was no evidence to prove that bumper stickers should be considered part of “electioneering” efforts.

“The purpose of regulating electioneering is delineated by a state’s interest in preventing voter intimidation and election fraud,” she wrote. “Here, the court cannot see how bumper stickers on vehicles could lead to voter intimidation or election fraud.”

However, the 100-foot buffer zone for absentee voting periods is a reasonable restriction, Freudenthal ruled.

“… (No) specific arguments were presented to the court as to why the state’s interest in protecting absentee voters from confusion and undue influence should be any less than it is for election-day voters,” the opinion said.

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Gray, Bouchard Celebrate Gordon Signing Voter ID Bill Into Law

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Two legislators are celebrating Gov. Mark Gordon’s recent signing of a bill that will require Wyoming voters to present some type of identification when voting in person.

On Tuesday, Gordon signed House Bill 75 into law, which will require a person to present “acceptable” identification when going to vote in person.

“Today’s signing of my Voter ID legislation is a victory for the citizens of Wyoming,” bill sponsor Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, said on Tuesday. “It is a necessary function of our Republic to provide our citizens with confidence that our elections are secure, fair, and valid. I am proud that we were able to meet this important milestone for Wyoming.”

This bill was a priority for Gray since he has been elected to office in 2016 and has been a law that Wyoming legislators have been working on for nearly 20 years.

Wyoming currently requires identification to register to vote, but not when actually voting in person. The law would not apply for absentee voting.

The law will take effect beginning July 1.

Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, also touted the bill being signed into law.

“Governor Gordon has just signed into law the photo ID bill I sponsored along with my conservative colleagues in the Senate,” Bouchard said. “So which #woke corporation will attack our state next?”

The bill was amended to allow elderly voters to use a Medicare card as a form of suitable identification, since many of them do not use a photo ID.

Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan testified in support of the bill last week during a Senate committee meeting, telling the the legislators how much work his office had done to help write the bill.

“You really have every available type of identification to be used in this case, so no one has to feel like there’s an ID they can’t get,” he said. “One of the important things I emphasized early on this was in no way disenfranchising any voters.”

Buchanan did say there have only been three or four instances of voter fraud in the state over the last couple decades, “but it does occur.”

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Voter ID Bill Headed to Wyoming Senate for Debates

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A bill requiring people to present some type of identification when voting in person is heading to the floor of the Senate for debate this week.

House Bill 75 would require a person to present “acceptable” identification when going to vote in person. The Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions approved the bill on a vote of 4-1 Tuesday, with only Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, voting “no.”

Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, the bill’s sponsor, told Senate colleagues during his testimony that the bill would be critical for Wyoming’s elections.

“Voter ID is a step in keeping our election statues tight, and ensuring there’s an environment where it is difficult to commit fraud, it’s a best practices issue,” he said. “This bill will ensure confidence in our elections.”

Wyoming currently requires identification to register to vote, but not when actually voting in person. This bill would not apply for absentee voting.

Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, cracked a joke during the meeting, asking Gray if he would consider amending the bill to include fishing licenses, a joke referencing to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, who Gray plans to challenge in her bid for re-election.

Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, asked Gray what would happen in the event someone’s ID is stolen prior to voting, to which the representative responded an old ID or a temporary, paper one would suffice.

Scott expressed his concern about the bill, noting not everyone has multiple types of ID and adding a voter could be in a bad spot if the ID is lost before voting.

However, Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Towers, interjected, saying identity could still be verified through voting registration records, since an ID is required to register.

“When you live in the backwoods like I do, all the polling people know you,” Driskill said to Gray. “Is there a thought you could be allowed to cast your ballot because you know the polling people? I know mine, we have coffee together.”

Gray said there were some equal protection concerns regarding visual verification of a person’s identity, which is why that situation hadn’t been addressed in the bill.

Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan testified in support of the bill, telling the committee how much work his office had done to help write the legislation.

“You really have every available type of identification to be used in this case, so no one has to feel like there’s an ID they can’t get,” he said. “One of the important things I emphasized early on this was in no way disenfranchising any voters.”

Buchanan did say there have only been three or four instances of voter fraud in the state over the last couple decades, “but it does occur.”

Driskill added no one voluntarily announces they cheated the system, they just do it again.

Nethercott mentioned that as a sitting senator, she was once rejected from a polling place in Laramie County because she did not have her ID.

Tom Lacock, spokesman for AARP, supported amending the bill to allow Medicare IDs to be used as acceptable identification for voting, as many elderly people have no need for photo IDs any longer.

Some of the organizations opposed to the bill included the League of the Women Voters and the Equality State Policy Center.

Marguerite Herman, representing the LWV, said Wyoming simply does not need such a requirement for its voters.

“The only accomplishment of HB75 is to create a hoop for the voters and poll workers to jump through on election day with no corresponding benefit,” she said. “Our voter registration system is solid. Our elections are secure. Wyoming should have no patience for such an expenditure of time, effort and other resources.”

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Wyoming’s Voter Registration Numbers Dip By More Than 20K

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s voter registration numbers have dipped by more than 20,000 over the last two months, but a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office said there’s no cause for alarm.

As of Jan. 1, Wyoming has 302,963 registered voters, but as of Monday, the state only had 279,864, a drop of 23,099 voters.

However, there hasn’t been a mass exodus of voters from the state. Instead, it is the result of a cleaning up of the state’s files.

“Wyoming is required by law to remove, or purge, voters after every general election,” Secretary of State’s office spokeswoman Monique Meese told Cowboy State Daily. “The voters being purged are those who did not vote in the last general election and did not respond to a statutorily required notice asking if they wanted to remain a registered voter.”

Wyoming’s 23 counties are required to notify the secretary of state’s office by Feb. 15 of the year following the November election of voters who did not cast ballots.

“While it is speculation on my part – I would suspect that is the reason for the decrease,” Meese said.

In February, there were 294,113 registered voters, down more than 8,000 than the month prior.

According to the secretary of state’s voter statistics, the breakdown of registered voters in Wyoming as of Monday looked like: 195,592 Republicans, 46,307 Democrats, 2,548 Libertarians, 696 Constitution Party, 34,682 unaffiliated and 39 “other,” which includes individuals registered in parties that are no longer recognized in Wyoming.

Laramie County saw the highest number of registered voters with 45,337 (with 9,610 Democrats, 28,608 Republicans, 72 Constitution Party, 358 Libertarian, 6,676 unaffiliated and 13 other).

Although there was an overall drop in voters across all parties, a few parties saw an increase in registered voters in certain counties. Albany, Converse, Crook and Hot Springs counties all saw slight upticks in their independent affiliation numbers compared to February.

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More Than 100 Wyoming National Guardsmen to Help With Biden Inauguration

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

More than 100 Wyoming National Guard Soldiers and airmen have volunteered to support crowd control, communications and logistics during the 59th Presidential Inauguration for President-elect Joe Biden in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

“We are proud to support, and be part of, the long tradition of supporting this historical event for our country,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Porter, adjutant general for Wyoming. “When we are requested, we continue to provide our governor and civilian authorities properly manned, trained and equipped forces available wherever and whenever they are needed.”

The 59th Presidential Inauguration, like all presidential inaugurations, is considered a national special security event. The preparation for a NSSE is a cooperative effort among federal, state and district agencies.

The National Guard provides a wide variety of capabilities that can seamlessly integrate with interagency partners to enhance inauguration support capabilities.

Several states are activating to provide timely, safe and proactive support to civilian authorities. While the costs associated with this deployment will be paid for with federal dollars, these National Guard professionals will remain under their respective governor’s control for up to 31 days and adhere to D.C. law.

Military support to inaugurations by Guard members dates back 232 years to when General George Washington began his inaugural journey from Mount Vernon, Vermont to New York City.

Local militias (the modern-day National Guard), joined his inaugural procession as it passed through towns along the route to be joined by members of the regular Army, additional local militia and Revolutionary War veterans once Washington arrived in New York City.

This presidential military escort then accompanied him to Federal Hall for the presidential oath. The National Guard and other military units have continued this tradition of inaugural support ever since.

Additional National Guard Soldiers and airmen will be made available to provide support to Wyoming authorities, should the need arise.

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Wyoming Democratic Party Condemns Attack on U.S. Capitol, Criticizes Lummis

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Democratic Party on Wednesday condemned the attack on the U.S. Capitol building while also criticizing the state’s newest U.S. senator.

Wyoming Democratic Party Chair Joe Barbuto said in a statement that the attack, led by people described as supporters of President Donald Trump who don’t believe he lost November’s presidential election to former Vice President Joe Biden, was the culmination of the last four years of Trump’s presidency.

“These people are not protesters or patriots, they are domestic terrorists who were beckoned by the dog whistle of Trump,” Barbuto said. “The President of the United States is complicit in this violence, as are those who have enabled and defended his actions, conspiracy theories and words over the last four years.”

Barbuto included Wyoming’s congressional delegation as having enabled Trump, primarily newly sworn-in Sen. Cynthia Lummis, who has regularly praised Trump during his presidency, including supporting Trump‘s refusal to concede in the presidential election.

Lummis confirmed recently that she would contest the Electoral College vote confirming Biden as president-elect.

Barbuto criticized Lummis’ choice to contest the Electoral College vote, calling it “disturbing.”

“Her embrace of that rhetoric has only escalated the situation,” he said. “It is a disgrace to democracy, it is a disgrace to our nation and it is a disgrace to Wyoming. Sen. Lummis has no choice but to publicly withdraw her involvement in encouraging the rejection of election results and fulfill her sworn oath and constitutional duties in the peaceful transition of power.”

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Barrasso Calls For End to Storming Of U.S. Capitol

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso joined Wyoming colleague U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis on Wednesday in criticizing the crowds who invaded the U.S. Capitol as members of Congress prepared to certify the results of Electoral College votes from November’s election.

“This violence and destruction have no place in our republic,” Barrasso wrote in a Twitter post. “It must end now.”

Laura Menglekamp, Barrasso’s spokeswoman, said Barrasso and his staff were safe following the incident that forced the evacuation of the Capitol earlier in the day.

An undetermined number of protesters described as supporters of President Donald Trump breached the Capitol shortly after noon Wyoming time. The incident occurred shortly after Trump hosted a rally to encourage members of Congress to reject the Electoral College’s vote in favor of Democrat Joe Biden.

Barrasso and Lummis were on opposite sides of the Electoral College issue. Lummis joined 10 other Senate Republicans in announcing she would object to certification of the votes until an audit could be conducted of the elections in six states where Trump has alleged voter fraud occurred.

Barrasso, expressing opinions similar to those of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, said he would vote to certify the results because their rejection would mean Congress was selecting the next president rather than the voters.

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Trump Attacks Cheney, “Weak Congresspeople” During Wednesday Rally

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

President Donald Trump singled out U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney for scathing criticism during a rally appearance on Wednesday morning.

“The Liz Cheneys of the world. We have to get rid of them,” Trump said during his speech.

In recent days, Cheney has advised fellow Republican not to object to the outcome of the Electoral College vote that gave victory in November’s presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.

The comments by Trump came during a rally that took place just hours before many of his supporters stormed the steps of the U.S. Capitol building, forcing evacuation of the building by the legislators inside. Members of Congress were preparing to decide on the certification of the Electoral College’s vote at the time.

During the rally, Trump also told his supporters to get rid of the “weak Congresspeople,” referring to those who didn’t agree with his belief that the presidential election was rigged or that Biden didn’t win fairly.

Trump also claimed that “big tech” rigged the election in Biden’s favor.

“We will never give up, we will never concede,” the president said during the rally. “It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.”

These comments come days after Cheney confirmed that she would vote to certify Biden’s win and also calling Trump’s recent phone call with the Georgia Secretary of State “disturbing.”

“Congress has an important role to play in supporting states as they address election fraud,” she previously said. “Congress does not, however, have the authority to overturn state presidential election results by refusing to count electors and thereby substituting our views for the votes of the people in the states. Doing so would be establishing a tyranny of Congress and stealing power from the states and the people in those states.”

Cheney’s position on certification of the Electoral College vote was shared by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, who said he would vote in favor of certification during the joint session of Congress held Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis, however, joined 10 other Senate Republicans in saying she would object to to the Electoral College results until an audit of elections in states where Trump has suggested voter fraud occurred can be completed.

Lummis’ statements on the Electoral College vote won thanks from Trump during the rally.

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso confirmed Wednesday morning that he would also certify the Electoral College’s vote.

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Cheney Explains Opposition to Electoral College Challenge: “This Vote Is Not About President Trump”

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Giving Congress the authority to overturn elections at the state level would allow that body to dictate to the states, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney said Monday.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, in a statement on her Facebook page, explained her decision to stand by the Electoral College’s vote confirming former Vice President Joe Biden as the president-elect.

“Congress has an important role to play in supporting states as they address election fraud,” she said. “Congress does not, however, have the authority to overturn state presidential election results by refusing to count electors and thereby substituting our views for the votes of the people in the states. Doing so would be establishing a tyranny of Congress and stealing power from the states and the people in those states.”

Cheney’s statement was posted less than a day after she denounced many of her Republican colleagues, including U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis for their plans to challenge the results of the Electoral College.

Eleven Senate Republicans, including Lummis, announced over the weekend they will object to certification of the Electoral College’s results until an emergency 10-day audit can be conducted of votes cast in states where some have raised questions about the legality of the elections. The Senate is to receive the Electoral College’s votes for certification on Wednesday.

Cheney said she understood many people had concerns about the election, particularly with mail-in voting.

“Since November 3, I’ve had the chance to talk with many of you about the very real concerns associated with mail-in voting and other challenges in the 2020 presidential election, and I share your concerns,” she wrote. “I think it is fundamental to the future of our electoral system that we address and reform these systems.”

She went on to praise Wyoming’s election system, which functions “fairly, efficiently and transparently,” which other states could learn from.

She added that the Republican Party prided itself for its fidelity to the U.S. Constitution.

“[Republicans] call ourselves strict constructionists, meaning that we adhere to the actual text of our founding document,” she wrote. “We do not read words or concepts into the Constitution that are not there. And we do not comply with the Constitution’s commands only when it is convenient politically.”

By objecting to the Electoral College results, this would assert Congress had the authority to overturn elections and overrule state and federal courts.

“Like all of you, I am thankful for the work President Trump and his administration has accomplished on behalf of Wyoming and our entire nation, and I am not happy about the result of the presidential election,” she said. “This vote in Congress is not about President Trump. It’s about following the Constitution and recognizing that the authority here rests with the states and the people, not the federal government.”

Cheney concluded that she couldn’t, in good faith, surrender Wyoming’s right to determine the winner of the presidential election to a future Democratic-run Congress.

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Wyoming GOP Applauds Legislators Contesting Electoral College Votes: “This Is The Time To Fight”

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Republican Party is praising U.S. senators and representatives who are willing to contest the results of the Electoral College votes in the presidential election.

“We applaud those U.S. Senators and Representatives willing to stand against election fraud and object to certification of the ill-gotten swing States’ Electoral College votes on January 6th,” the organization wrote in a New Year’s post on their website.

The party, in its website, also linked to a story from The Epoch Times from Dec. 22 that discussed various Republican senators who stated their intention on Jan. 6 to contest the certification of the results of the election between President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden.

A request for comment from Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne went unreturned as of Wednesday afternoon.

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, on stated his intention to contest the results on Tuesday. Sen. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, has also confirmed he will contest the results.

“It is reasonable for the American people to expect that a majority of the U.S. Senate will refuse to certify the election, since Republicans control the Senate,” the Wyoming GOP wrote in its post. “This is no time to compromise with Democrats. Efforts to appease them will be for naught if Biden is sworn-in. If Biden does prevail, he should enter the White House with a well-earned stain of illegitimacy that a full Senate refusal to certify would ensure.”

The GOP also encouraged Wyoming residents to call on their congressional delegates, U.S. Sen.-elect Cynthia Lummis and U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, to request they also contest the vote.

“As Republicans, our Congressional delegation are all members of the Wyoming Republican Party so they should see no conflict in riding for the Republican brand and standing up for our most precious Constitutional right – the right to vote in free and fair elections,” the GOP wrote.

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Barrasso Accepts Biden As President-Elect

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso said Sunday during an appearance on Fox News with Chris Wallace that he believes former Vice President Joe Biden is the president-elect and will take over the seat from President Donald Trump in just one month.

“Let me ask you directly: will Joe Biden be the next president of the United States?” Wallace asked the senator.

“Yes, he will,” Barrasso said.

Barrasso had been hesitant to admit to Biden’s victory until the Electoral College certified the results last week. He told Wallace during his appearance on Sunday that he was one of the many Wyoming residents and 70 million people across the country who voted for Trump in the November election.

However, he wasn’t quite as vocal about the possibility of voter fraud, unlike U.S. Sen.-elect Cynthia Lummis, who supported the idea of Gov. Mark Gordon potentially joining a multi-state lawsuit contesting the validity of many presidential votes.

Wallace also questioned Barrasso on whether or not Senate Republicans would delay confirming many of Biden’s cabinet picks, similar to the same way (Barrasso believed) the Democrats did to Trump’s cabinet in 2017.

“It looks like the Biden cabinet would be a third term of the Obama administration, and that didn’t really sit well in Wyoming,” he said. “We’ll have hearings and ask the tough questions, but we are not going to forget what happened with Trump’s administration.”

The senator added that he was taking personal interest in Biden’s Secretary of Energy pick, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, as she isn’t a big proponent of using fossil fuels.

“The impact of that on our economy, on jobs, it cuts the throat of my state,” Barrasso said.

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Lummis Supports Gordon Joining Texas Election Lawsuit

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Senator-elect Cynthia Lummis voiced her support Thursday for the group of Wyoming legislators and legislators-elect asking Gov. Mark Gordon to have the state join a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas over the validity of votes cast in four states.

“We must protect free and fair elections,” Lummis said in a post on her Lummis for Wyoming Facebook page on Thursday. “I commend these legislators on their outreach to Governor Gordon and the Attorney General.”

The group of 31 legislators, including nine senators- and representatives-elect, is asking that Wyoming join the lawsuit filed against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that challenges the validity of millions of votes cast in those states.

The lawsuit alleges the four states made unconstitutional changes to their laws before the election that tainted the outcome of the presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Lummis said she completely agreed that Wyoming should join the lawsuit, adding that she has heard from constituents in Wyoming and around the country who are concerned about “the integrity of our electoral process.”

“It is incumbent on us to uncover the truth and protect the vote upon which our system of government rests,” she wrote.

A letter sent to Gordon on Wednesday repeats allegations that the four states exploited the coronavirus to “justify ignoring federal and state election laws and unlawfully enacting last-minute changes, thus skewing the 2020 General Election.”

The letter’s signers include Sen. Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, who was recently chosen as the president of the state Senate, and Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, who was recently selected Senate Majority Floor Leader.

Also urging Gordon to join the lawsuit is Wyoming’s Republican Party, which issued a statement on the issue on Tuesday urging action against what it called “rogue states” that unlawfully changed election laws.

Wyoming’s congressional delegation has yet to offer an opinion about the lawsuit.

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Lummis: Trump Shouldn’t Concede Election Yet

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Senator-Elect Cynthia Lummis has become the second of Wyoming’s top elected officials to speak out regarding last week’s presidential election, saying President Donald Trump shouldn’t concede the election yet.

During an appearance on “GMA3: What You Need to Know” on Friday, Lummis told host Sara Haines that canvassing board results were still trickling in, giving the president hope that he could still win the election against former vice president Joe Biden.

“This is a very important exercise in our nation,” she said. “We have to be confident in the integrity, the security and the validation of our voting system.”

The newly-elected senator applauded Trump for raising issues about voter fraud and the integrity of the system, saying those calls should be fully vetted. This, she said, would allow for the voting system to improve for further elections.

Lummis retweeted the 60-second clip on Friday, reiterating her comments.

“Ensuring election integrity is core to our democratic republic. Let’s get it right and protect the vote,” she wrote.

Gov. Mark Gordon spoke out about the election this week as well, saying he wouldn’t congratulate Biden or Trump until the Electoral College officially announced the winner.

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Gordon Won’t Congratulate Biden, Trump Until Winner Officially Announced

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Gov. Mark Gordon has become the first of Wyoming’s top elected officials to speak out regarding last week’s presidential election, but he didn’t offer any congratulations.

Instead, Gordon stated he wouldn’t congratulate either former Vice President Joe Biden or President Donald Trump until the Electoral College officially declared one of them the winner.

“Americans always want to be confident that their vote was counted and that the voting process was correct, accurate and conducted with care,” Gordon said in a tweet on Wednesday evening. “Our country should ensure every legal vote is counted properly. When a result is confirmed congratulations for the winner will be in order.”

Gordon congratulated both U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney and U.S. Senator-Elect Cynthia Lummis on their respective wins about 45 minutes after the polls closed on Nov. 3.

Neither Cheney nor Lummis have spoken about the election publicly. Nor have outgoing U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi or U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, who was recently re-elected as Senate Republican Conference chairman.

The Associated Press and other media outlets have called the election for Biden, but results won’t be official until either mid-December or early January. The AP has called every election since 1848, when President Zachary Taylor was elected.

However, it is the Electoral College that officially decides who will be president. Each state chooses electors, a number based on the size of each state’s population and how many representatives and senators it has in Congress (Wyoming has three total).

Those electors, who are sworn to vote for the candidate who received the most votes in the state, won’t vote until Dec. 14. The Senate president and an archivist will receive certificates recording the electoral vote, which must be in by Dec. 23.

The results of each state’s electoral votes are then sent to Congress, which will meet in a joint session on Jan. 6 to announce the results.

While media outlets have called the election for Biden, it is possible for outlets to be wrong, as seen in the 2000 election, when many news outlets declared former Vice President Al Gore the winner in his presidential race against George W. Bush.

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Who Won Cowboy State Daily’s Election Winner Picker Contest? Well, We Don’t Know Yet

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher, Cowboy State Daily

Three savvy Cheyenne men so far are tied to win Cowboy State Daily’s election winner picker contest.

Before we can pick the final winner, we need to know who won the presidential race. Now that gets interesting.

Here are the three winners who scored 5-0 on the contest, not counting the presidential race:

Michael Pearlman, press secretary for Gov. Mark Gordon.

Jimmy Orr, executive editor of the Cowboy State Daily.

John Masters, a well-known Cheyenne attorney.

Two of these picked Donald Trump and one picked Joe Biden.

Orr easily won the tie-breaker with a guess of 278,000 statewide voters. The real number was about 276,000.

But both Orr and Masters picked Trump to win. Pearlman picked Biden.

If Biden is declared the winner of the national Presidential race, then Pearlman gets bragging rights and a Bill Sniffin coffee table book. If Trump wins, then Orr gets to brag and gets a book.

Stay tuned as we all wait to see how this turns out.

Lots of smart people entered the contest and it took a while to sort out the winners.

Thanks for participating.

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Enzi Welcomes Lummis To Senate, Congratulates Cheney On Win

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Outgoing U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi recently congratulated Senator-elect Cynthia Lummis on her successful campaign to take over his seat.

Lummis’ election and win are considered historic, as she will be the first woman to represent Wyoming in U.S. Senate. She beat out Democratic challenger Merav Ben-David, a University of Wyoming professor.

“Congratulations to Senator-elect Cynthia Lummis on being elected to fill the seat I have had the honor to hold for 24 years,’ Enzi said in a statement. “I know she will put Wyoming first and be a force to be reckoned with in Washington.

Enzi also congratulated U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney on her reelection to the House of Representatives. He felt that by having Lummis, Cheney and U.S. Sen. John Barrasso representing Wyoming in Congress, their work would be important and impactful.

The soon-to-be-retired senator also touched on the other elections that took place Tuesday, including the still to be determined presidential one. Enzi felt that although it was important to focus on “the top of the ballot,” the local elections were the ones that truly mattered.

“It’s important to remember that governing happens at the local level. Our county commissioners, city council, school board members – those are the people who shape our communities, and I applaud everyone who had the courage to put their name on a ballot this year,” he said.

He added that the best way to move forward after a particularly tense election season was to find common ground between the parties and work to solve those problems together.

“I only have a few weeks left as a U.S. Senator, but I remain a proud American citizen and I look forward to helping serve my country in other ways as I enter this new chapter of my life,” he said.

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Wyoming Voter Turnout Nearly Doubled Primary Election; More Than 275K Vote

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Voter turnout almost doubled between the primary and general elections in Wyoming this year, according to the secretary of state’s office.

As of Wednesday morning, the unofficial returns saw 278,314 votes cast, according to Monique Meese, spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office. There were 144,883 absentee ballots sent out, with 143,029 absentee ballots received by state county clerks.

The majority of the votes cast were for the Republican ticket. Quickly after the polls closed on Tuesday night, the race was called for certain GOP candidates, such as President Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney and U.S. Senator-Elect Cynthia Lummis.

The number of votes cast actually exceeded the number of voters registered as of Tuesday — 268,837 — a development that can occur because of the state’s laws allowing voter registration at the polls on election day.

The highest turnouts were seen in Laramie and Natrona counties, with 45,119 and 35,385 votes being cast in the respective locations.

This was almost double compared to the primary election in August, when 140,042 votes were cast. Even that was considered a historic number, though, as the number of votes cast in the primary was a record for the state in a presidential election year.

The only time the number has been exceeded was in the mid-term primary election of 1994.

Tuesday’s voter turnout was also up compared to the last presidential election in 2016, where 258,788 votes were cast. In 2012, 250,701 votes were cast in the general election.

Here are the unofficial results for top races in Wyoming’s general election as reported by the secretary of state’s office:

U.S. Senate

Cynthia Lummis (R): 197,961

Merav Ben-David (D): 72,720

U.S. House

Liz Cheney (R): 185,602

Lynnette Grey Bull (D): 66,539

Richard Brubaker (L): 10,113

Jeff Haggit (Const.): 7,930

Constitutional Amendment A

For: 126, 486

Against: 120,743

To win approval, a constitutional amendment must receive “yes” votes from a majority of all people casting a ballot in a general election. According to the secretary of state’s preliminary numbers, the measure needed 139,157 “yes” votes to win.

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Bouchard Clobbers Opponent, Sails To Easy State Senate Win

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne easily turned back what was anticipated to be a strong challenge from Democrat Brittany Wallesch, on Tuesday to win election to his second Senate term.

According to unofficial returns, Bouchard won 6,707 votes in Tuesday’s election to Wallesch’s 3,702.

Bouchard is the founder of the Wyoming Gun Owners organization which campaigned aggressively for him.  He won a difficult Republican primary race in August and it was anticipated the race for the general election would be close as well.

Bouchard, whose district straddles Laramie and Goshen counties, won a majority of votes cast in the race from both counties.

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One-Fifth Of Wyoming’s Registered Already Cast Ballots

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

More than one-fifth of Wyoming’s registered voters have already cast their ballots for the upcoming general election.

According to Monique Meese, spokesperson for the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office, 55,755 votes have already been cast for November’s general election, including votes from those who have returned their absentee ballots or who cast their votes in person at an early polling place.

As of Wednesday morning, there were 252,422 registered voters in the state.

Nearly 40% of Wyoming’s registered voters have requested absentee ballots, totaling 95,528 requested as of Monday.

Absentee voting officially began in the state on Sept. 18 and will continue until Nov. 2. Absentee ballots can be requested through a resident’s local county clerk office.

However, it should be noted that there is a difference between absentee and early voting. Absentee voting allows a person to vote by mail, while early voting means showing up to a polling location (usually a county clerk’s office or other designated venue) and using a voting machine, just like on Election Day, only without the long lines.

Early voting is available throughout the state and usually means a shorter wait time, which this writer proved on Wednesday by only taking 10 minutes to vote, from getting in line to walking out of the Laramie County Governmental Complex.

To vote early, I went to the complex, which had a sign pointing to the voting location in the building. I got in line behind about five or so other people (there were probably about 10 voting machines in the area), but the line moved quickly.

I checked in with a poll worker, told them my name and address and got my ballot. The only thing that held me up was changing my address, so I likely could have shaved my wait and vote time down to five minutes if that wasn’t needed.

From there, I picked up my voting stick (Laramie County is asking people to use small sticks to touch the screen, so as to avoid any potential coronavirus spread) and headed to the machine. Voting was pretty effortless, and I even got a wonderful Louisa Swain sticker for being a Wyoming woman voting.

If you can take advantage of early voting, I would recommend it. Why stand in line and be held up on Election Day when you can avoid the hassle?

Every county clerk’s office will act as an early voting location across Wyoming, but it is up to the office to determine if more early voting stations will be established in their counties.

Here is a list of each of the county clerk offices in Wyoming and their addresses:

  • Albany County: 502 Grand Ave., Suit 202, Laramie
  • Big Horn County: County Courthouse, 420 C St., Basin
  • Campbell County: 500 S. Gillette Ave., Gillette
  • Carbon County: 415 W. Pine St., Rawlins
  • Converse County: 107 N. Fifth St., Suite 114, Douglas
  • Crook County: 309 Cleveland St., Sundance
  • Fremont County: 450 N. Second St., Lander
  • Goshen County: 2125 E. A St., Torrington
  • Hot Springs County: 415 Arapahoe St., Thermopolis
  • Johnson County: 76 N. Main St., Buffalo
  • Laramie County: 309 W. 20th St., Cheyenne
  • Lincoln County: 925 Sage Ave., Suite 101, Kemmerer
  • Natrona County: 200 N. Center St., Casper
  • Niobrara County: 424 S. Elm St., Lusk
  • Park County: 1002 Sheridan St., Cody
  • Platte County: 800 Ninth St., Wheatland
  • Sheridan County: 224 S. Main St., Suite B-2, Sheridan
  • Sublette County: 21 S. Tyler Ave., Pinedale
  • Sweetwater County: 80 W. Flaming Gorge Way, Suite 150, Green River
  • Teton County: 200 S. Willow St., Jackson
  • Uinta County: 225 Ninth St., Evanston
  • Washakie County: 1001 Big Horn Ave., Worland
  • Weston County: 1 West Main St., Newcastle

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Wyoming Mail Carrier Faces Jail After Allegedly Throwing Away Voter Guides

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A mail carrier in Fremont County faces up to two years in jail after being accused of throwing away mail, including voter guides, sent to residents of South Pass City and Atlantic City.

Zecharia Morgan is charged with knowingly destroying mail and “desertion of mails” after allegedly dumping voter guides prepared by the Wyoming League of Women Voters into a trash can in South Pass in September.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court, Morgan delivered mail to the communities for a contractor of the U.S. Postal Service.

An affidavit filed by Christopher Lucas, a U.S. Postal inspector, said a South Pass resident called the postmaster in Lander in mid-September to report she had seen a mail carrier “discarding mail in a trash can.”

On Oct. 1, another postal customer called the Lander postmaster to complain that she had not received a the League of Women Voters election guide sent to all postal customers in the communities by “Every Door Direct Mail.”

The first postal customer told the inspector “she also remembered seeing the Voter’s Guide in the trash can” and had seen other bulk mail pieces in the trash as well in the past, the affidavit said.

“The customer empties the trash can and has seen bundles of magazines and other (direct mail) in the trash can,” the affidavit said. “The customer stated she was aware of three or four times when bundles of mail were discovered in the trash can.”

Morgan told the Lander postmaster that he did not deliver the voter guides because “the boxes are always stuffed full.”

When interviewed by the inspector, Morgan admitted to throwing away the voter guides and to disposing of other direct mail as well between six and eight times since he had been employed in May, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said Morgan reported he did not throw away any first class mail sent to specific recipients except for some pornographic material.

“Morgan stated he had also thrown away pornographic material in the past, as he was not comfortable delivering it,” the affidavit said.

The charges of destruction of mail and “desertion of mails” both carry sentences of up to one year in jail and fines of up to $100,000.

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Gordon Celebrates Louisa Swain, First Woman To Vote In U.S.

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Gov. Mark Gordon celebrated women’s suffrage on Friday by honoring the first woman to ever cast a ballot in the United States, Louisa Swain.

Swain made history on Sept. 6, 1870 when she awoke early and voted in Laramie’s municipal election.

“There was too much good sense in our community for any jeers or sneers to be seen on such an occasion,” The Laramie Daily Sentinel reported after Swain voted.

On Sunday, there was a re-enactment and celebration of Swain’s groundbreaking vote at History House Plaza in Laramie, where U.S. Senate candidate Cynthia Lummis spoke.

Gordon took photos in front of a semi-trailer that’s been driven across the country in honor of Swain. It started in Washington, D.C. and ended its journey in Laramie on Saturday.

“It was wonderful to celebrate outside the Capitol with the 4 female drivers who piloted this truck from Washington, D.C., to Wyoming,” Gordon wrote in a tweet.

The Wyoming Territorial Legislature passed a law in December 1869 allowing women 21 and older to vote in every election. It marked the first time anywhere in the world that women were allowed to vote.

In 2008, the Wyoming Legislature passed a bill declaring Sept. 6 as Louisa Swain Day.

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Wyoming Sees Highest Primary Voter Turnout Ever For Election Year In 2020

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming had one of its highest-ever voter turnouts for a primary election this year, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan announced Thursday.

The primary election on Aug. 18 saw 140,042 ballots cast, 62% (86,441 votes) of which were cast at the polls on Election Day or by in-person absentee ballots. The rest of the votes were cast absentee by mail.

The number of votes cast in the primary is a record for the state in a presidential election year. The only time the number has been exceeded was in the mid-term primary election of 1994.

“The 2020 election was remarkable in many ways, but this election had the highest turnout for a primary in a presidential election year ever, and that is truly notable,” Buchanan said in a news release. “I have my staff and every county clerk across Wyoming to thank for a record-breaking turnout, and for the safety and security of our voting process.

“We made polling places safe and worked hard to inform voters about the security and safety of Wyoming’s voting process,” he continued. “Voters listened and proved that even when times are tough perhaps especially when times are tough – Wyoming votes.”

The State Canvassing Board is comprised of: Gov. Mark Gordon, Buchanan (chair), State Auditor Kristi Racines and State Treasurer Curt Meier.

The board met Wednesday to review the results of state-level races across Wyoming and certify winning candidates to be placed on the 2020 Nov. 3 general election ballot.

“The roll out of new election equipment across Wyoming and in every county was smooth and a great success for voters.  Wyoming voters were clearly not deterred by COVID-19 and turned out to cast their ballots using Wyoming’s election system which is safe and secure from end-to-end. Absentee voting begins for the general on September 18th, and we hope to see turnout just as strong as the primary,” said State Election Director Kai Schon in the news release.

Cowboy State Daily reported earlier this month figures from the secretary of state’s office showed that 139,950 ballots were cast during the primary, compared to 114,000 ballots cast during the primary election of 2016, another presidential election year.

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139,950 Ballots Cast In Wyoming Primary Tuesday, More Than 2016

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By Jim Angell and Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Voter turnout for Wyoming’s primary election on Tuesday was higher than that seen for other primary elections recently, a state official said Wednesday.

Figures from the secretary of state’s office showed that 139,950 ballots were cast during Tuesday’s primary, compared to 114,000 ballots cast during the primary election of 2016, another presidential election year when the state’s top five elected offices were not at stake.

“I think it’s fair to say that based on the turnout of 2016 that turnout Tuesday was very robust and we are very pleased with that turnout,” said Will Dineen, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office.

In the primary election of 2018, when the state’s top five elected offices were on the ballot, about 150 fewer votes were cast than this year at 139,809.

“With no statewide elected offices on the ballot, this is a great turnout,” Dineen said.

The state’s turnout level was similar to that seen in Park County, where Park County Clerk Coleen Renner said the 8,807 ballots cast Tuesday was a gain over 2016.

“I’m going to say we’re probably about 1,000 voters higher than we were at the last presidential,” she said.

Dineen said he believed efforts by the secretary of state’s office to educate voters on how and where they could vote during the coronavirus pandemic helped draw people to the polls, as did the candidates in primary races.

The majority of votes cast statewide in Tuesday’s election, 78.9%, were cast in Republican primaries. In Park County, the number was 88%.

Dineen said the number of absentee ballots cast was not as high as some had expected.

“The majority of those who turned out turned out at the polls on election day,” he said. “The prognosticators said it would be more of an absentee-based election, but I think people turned out at the polls.”

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Wyoming Officials Speak Out Against Trump’s Proposed Election Delay

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

President Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that the United States delay the Nov. 3 general election received much pushback from various legislators, including several of Wyoming’s elected representatives.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted that universal mail-in voting would cause widespread inaccuracies and an uptick in voter fraud. To not cause a “great embarrassment” to the United States, Trump suggested delaying the election until people could “properly, securely and safely vote.”

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney tweeted her thoughts on the president’s suggestion, saying lawmakers wouldn’t take any action to delay the election.

“The resistance to this idea among Republicans is overwhelming,” she wrote. “We must take all necessary steps to prevent election fraud – including stopping Democrat ballot harvesting – but we will not be delaying the election.”

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso sided with Cheney when he spoke to Fox Business Network in an interview.

“No, we are not going to delay the election,” Barrasso said. “We’re going to have the election completed and voting completed by Election Day.”

State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne said on his Facebook page that he also didn’t support a delay.

“Stop with this nonsense and govern,” the Republican representative wrote.

Other national politicians who rejected Trump’s idea included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The president also wrote on Thursday that mail-in voting was “already proving to be a catastrophic disaster,” saying mail-in voting was an easy way for foreign countries to influence the election. He also was concerned about inaccurate vote counts.

Trump touched on New York’s mail-in voting system earlier this week, saying it was “in a disastrous state of condition” and alleging the election was rigged.

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Republican Wyoming Senate Candidates Tackle Pandemic, Taxes, Tribal Rights In Tuesday Debate

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Republican candidates for one of Wyoming’s U.S. Senate seats discussed issues ranging from the destruction of Confederate monuments and immigration reform to stimulus packages during their first debate Tuesday night.

Nine of the 10 Republican candidates eyeing the U.S. Senate seat now held by U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi gathered in Sheridan for the debate, held just one month before Wyoming’s primary election.

Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne, Michael Kemler of Lander, R. Mark Armstrong of Centennial, Star Roselli of Arizona, Josh Wheeler of Casper, Bryan Miller of Sheridan, Donna Rice of Casper, Robert Short of Douglas and John Holtz of Laramie participated in the debate at Sheridan College. The nine candidates were split into two groups for the event, with Lummis, Wheeler, Rice, Miller and Kemler facing off for the first round and Roselli, Holtz, Short and Armstrong making up the roster for the second.

During the first round, Lummis stated her opposition to the destruction of monuments seen around the country.

“We need to respect our history,” she said. “If we forget our history, we’re bound to repeat it.”

The candidates agreed with each other more often than not on issues such as their support for a more secure border and their disapproval of the federal government bailing out states with coronavirus relief funds, although they usually had differing ideas on how to approach those issues in Congress.

“We need to have more of a defensive perimeter and have a proper barrier to keep people from coming in illegally,” Wheeler said. “I’d rather see see an immigration system that favors those who come here legally and not put them on a back burner.”

Areas where the candidates were split included the federal coronavirus relief legislation, which Lummis supported and Miller opposed, and their support for Dr. Anthony Fauci, a White House advisor on health issues who has taken center stage during the coronavirus pandemic.

“[Fauci] is a scientist, but he’s been wrong a lot,” Miller said. “The country, as a whole, is in worse shape for listening to someone we knew was wrong two weeks into the pandemic.”

During the second round, Holtz, Roselli, Short and Armstrong sparred over issues including the Centers for Disease Control, social media regulations and federal debt.

“The federal government is addicted to spending,” Armstrong said during the debt discussion. “We need to get away from baseline budgeting. We can’t keep letting the federal government just keep printing money.”

The candidates’ viewpoints differed wildly on the subject of Social Security, with Armstrong calling it a “huge burden,” while Roselli and Short argued its value to the country’s elderly. Holtz declared that taxing Social Security benefits was wrong, and once Congress eliminated the taxes on it, the benefits would be more clear.

One of the moderators had to interject about midway through the second debate, reminding the candidates to stay on topic.

During the second round, Roselli also touted a conspiracy theory that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg (whom she mistakenly referred to as “Jeff”) is the grandson of David Rockefeller and that the Central Intelligence Agency provided funding for the social media website in its early days.

The only Republican candidate not to take part in the debate was Philadelphia resident Devon Cade.

Wyoming’s primary election is Aug. 18. A total of 16 people are running for U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi’s soon-to-be open seat, 10 Republicans and six Democrats.

Democrats on the primary ballot include former gubernatorial candidate Rex Wilde of Cheyenne, James Kirk DeBine of Evansville, Kenneth Casner of Elk Mountain, Merav Ben David of Laramie, Nathan Wendt of Jackson and Yana Ludwig of Laramie.

The Democratic Senate debate will be held Thursday night.

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Wyoming Bipartisanship on Display in Wall Street Journal

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It’s one thing political observers say they don’t see much anymore: bipartisanship.

Judging by last year’s impeachment and even the reaction to this year’s coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to agree with that assessment.

But one example of the two parties actually getting along occurred just last week in a Wyoming-focused video published on the Wall Street Journal.

The news story entitled “How Women in Wyoming Are Fighting to Boost Representation” touches on a story residents of Wyoming read a lot about last year with the 150th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

This story, however, takes a unique twist when following a Cheyenne Democrat, Brittney Wallesch, who has never run for office before and is challenging a Republican incumbent.

Wallesch is getting help from a Republican: former State Rep. Rosie Berger.

“You are a Republican. Brittney is a Democrat. Why are you, a Republican, helping a Democrat?” asked Journal reporter Shelby Holliday.

“Because I want commonsense, capable individuals who love their state to represent our people and to get the work done,” Berger said.  

“Brittney brings another perspective to the table. She brings a young perspective to the table,” she said.

Berger added that the decline in both the number of women and Democrats in the Legislature is “not healthy for any institution.”

More than a decade ago, Berger founded the“Leap Into Leadership” program — an organization which helps female candidates run for office. 

You’ll see bipartisanship here as well as this year’s conference was co-chaired by a bipartisan trio: Republican lawmakers Sen. Affie Ellis and Rep. Sue Wilson, both of Cheyenne, and Democrat Rep. Cathy Connolly of Laramie.

As for the 11 1/2 minute news clip, Wallesch put the video on her Facebook page and is, by far, the most popular post she’s added.

Regardless, what candidate — especially a Democratic candidate in a red, red state — wouldn’t love to have a positive, bipartisan Wall Street Journal video introduce people to his or her campaign?

Whether Wallesch wins or not, it’s a heck of a way to launch a campaign.

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