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Ed Buchanan

Secretary Of State Ed Buchanan Changes Mind; Says He Will Not Run For Second Term

in News/politics

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By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily

In a reversal of his earlier comments, Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan announced Tuesday morning he will not run for re-election this fall, choosing instead to apply for a position as a state district court judge.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Wyoming as your Secretary of State” Buchanan said in a news release. “Recently, the opportunity presented itself to apply for a judicial position in my hometown of Torrington, Wyo.  While I have been so grateful for the time I have spent as the Secretary of State, it would not be appropriate for me to explore a judicial opportunity while also running for this important office.”

Buchanan had announced in mid-April he would seek his second full term in the office he was appointed to by Gov. Mark Gordon in March 2018.

But in Tuesday’s announcement, Buchanan said he will begin the application process to fill the vacancy in the judge’s position in the Eighth Judicial District in Torrington to be created with the retirement of Judge Patrick Korell.

Buchanan said he will continue to fulfill his duties as secretary of state while applying for the judge’s position.

Buchanan applied to be a judge in Goshen County in May 2019 — a little more than six months after he was elected to his first full term as secretary of state — when he sought to be appointed to an opening in circuit court. Although he was selected as one of the final three candidates for the position, Gov. Mark Gordon did not choose Buchanan, citing a need to bring stability to the secretary of state role.

Monique Meese, a communications and policy director with the Secretary of State’s office, said Korell will finish his duties Aug. 2, leaving a possible gap in judges if Buchanan is selected for the job before his term ends.

Meese said “for now,” Buchanan has committed to serving out the rest of his term, which does not expire until the end of year.

District court judges are appointed by the governor in Wyoming. Following an application period, the Wyoming Judicial Nominating Commission submits the names of three finalists for the governor to choose from.

No candidates have filed to run for the secretary of state’s office. The filing period ends on May 27.

Wyoming’s Secretary of State serves as the state’s chief elections officer, securities commissioner, corporations administrator and notaries public commissioner. Buchanan also chairs the State Canvassing Board and serves on the State Loan and Investment Board, the Board of Land Commissioners and the State Building Commission.

After graduating from the University of Wyoming, Buchanan served in the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence briefer. While serving, he received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado.

After the Air Force, Buchanan studied law at UW and then grew a successful law practice in Torrington. He was elected to the State House of Representatives in 2002, where he served for 10 years as chairman of Judiciary Committee, majority floor leader and speaker of the House.

Buchanan was appointed to the office of secretary of state in March 2018, filling the vacancy created with the resignation of Ed Murray, who faced two separate allegations of prior sexual misconduct. Buchanan was selected to finish out Murray’s term, which expired at the end of 2018, and successfully ran for election to his first full term in the office in November 2018, beating Democrat James Byrd by a 68% to 26% vote.

In his press release, Buchanan touted increasing revenues and the securing of election equipment as some of his major achievements while in the secretary of state’s office. He said he was also proud to have modernized notary and security laws and of keeping his office open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buchanan’s tenure was not free of tension, as many questioned the security of Wyoming’s election equipment following the 2020 election. His department was also successfully sued by Wyoming Gun Owners over a $500 fine the State had levied against the firearms advocacy group for alleged violations of the state’s electioneering laws pertaining to failing to disclose donors. The secretary of state’s office filed an appeal in Federal court early this month.

“I am thankful to the people of Wyoming who gave me this amazing opportunity and to the incredible staff at the Secretary of State’s Office who worked diligently to reach the goals we set,” he said. “Stepping away from this role has been one of the most difficult decisions of my career.”

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Secretary of State Ed Buchanan Announces Reelection Campaign

in elections/News

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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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Wyo Sec of State Calls On Lummis, Barrasso To Stop Biden From Federalizing Elections

in News/Cynthia Lummis/John Barrasso

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan is seeking the help of U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis to oppose efforts to give the federal government more control over elections nationally.

In recent days, President Joe Biden has endorsed changing the rules of the Senate to make it easier for the Senate to pass two pieces of election-related legislation. One, the “Freedom to Vote Act,” would establish national voting rules to replace the state rules that now govern elections. The other, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” is described by backers as establishing a way to review voting rules nationally with an eye toward those that discriminate against voters.

Buchanan asked Barrasso and Lummis to stand firm in their fight against both measures, saying it is disingenuous to accuse Wyoming of adopting rules such as a voter ID requirement as a way to suppressing voters.

“To suggest that state action to strengthen our election security is ‘directly linked’ to the January 6, 2021 events is slanderous and is a political lie to the American people,” Buchanan said in a letter to the senators. “In Wyoming, we worked for years, well prior to the 2020 election, to implement legislation such as ‘Voter ID,’ until it finally passed. Simply put, Republicans want every eligible voter to vote and every ineligible voter to not vote. In summary, ‘easy to vote, hard to cheat.'”

There was little evidence of voter fraud in the state prior to the voter identification law being passed during the 2021 legislative session.

Buchanan also said that Wyoming voters deserved elections run by those sensitive to the needs of the state, not people in Washington, D.C., who are seeking a “one-size fits all” approach.

He concluded his letter to the senators by noting that “decentralization is essential to the protection of our elections at a time when integrity and security are foremost on the minds of all Americans.”

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Gordon, Buchanan Invite National Rifle Association to Relocate to Wyoming

in News/Mark Gordon

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Gov. Mark Gordon and Secretary of State Ed Buchanan are inviting the National Rifle Association to explore relocating its Virginia operation to Wyoming. 

The two, in a letter sent to the NRA earlier this month, pointed to the state’s business-friendly tax environment, available workforce and the population’s strong support for Second Amendment rights as reasons to move to Wyoming. 

“We embody the ideals that are fundamental to the National Rifle Association,” the letter said. “Wyoming citizens appreciate their freedoms, especially when it comes to their Second Amendment rights.”

The organization has been looking to relocate from Virginia since the beginning of the year, following a bankruptcy declaration. Other states have previously courted the NRA, including West Virginia.

The letter also pointed to other firearm businesses in Wyoming, such as Magpul, Weatherby and Gunwerks.

Gordon is a lifetime member of the NRA and believes the right to bear arms is fundamental. Owning guns was part of a way of life growing up on his family ranch in Kaycee and remains so today, he said.

Gordon also signed multiple pieces of legislation this year that reinforced existing firearms laws in Wyoming, and he has also helped facilitate the relocation of several firearms manufacturing businesses to Wyoming.

“Wyoming citizens value our state’s customs, culture and  pro-second amendment laws,” Gordon said in a statement Tuesday. “We will always protect personal freedoms, and those of businesses involved in the firearms industry. All of this, plus our great hunting and other outdoor opportunities, make Wyoming an ideal place for the National Rifle Association to consider home.”

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

in elections/News

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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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Secretary of State in running for court position

in News

By Cowboy State Daily

Secretary of State Ed Buchanan is being considered to fill a vacant circuit court judge’s seat in Goshen County, state officials announced Thursday.

Buchanan, in a prepared statement, said he felt “called” to submit his name for consideration for the post.

“I did not lightly consider this step in putting my name forward, such a step came after prayer and careful consideration of the needs of the State of Wyoming, my family and the citizens of Goshen County,” said Buchanan, a Republican. “When I heard of this vacancy in my home county, I felt called to serve in the capacity of a judge.”

Buchanan has served as Wyoming’s secretary of state since March, 2018, when he was appointed by then-Gov. Matt Mead to finish out the term of former Secretary of State Ed Murray, who resigned the previous month.

Buchanan was elected to his first full term in November, when he defeated former state legislator James Byrd by a vote of 137,026 to 53,355.

Buchanan said he has been honored to serve as the secretary of state, but he applied for the court vacancy because he felt strongly about being a judge in his home county.

“I faced the impossible choice knowing that I could serve my state and community in Goshen County through the Judicial System, while also struggling with the fact that I love the work of the secretary of state’s office,” his statement said. “Ultimately, the call to serve Goshen County as a judge was strong, but the decision was made knowing that my staff at the secretary of state’s office are prepared to smoothly transition and seamlessly accommodate the arrival of an appointed secretary of state, if that time comes.”

Gov. Mark Gordon has 30 days to select a new judge from the field of candidates, which also includes Cheyenne attorney Patricia Bennett and Torrington attorney Nathaniel Hibben.

Buchanan said he will continue to serve as secretary of state if Gordon selects one of the other candidates.

The candidate selected will receive an annual salary of $125,000, which rises to $145,000 on July 1. Wyoming’s secretary of state receives a salary of $92,000 per year. 

Sharon Wilkinson, director of the Wyoming Bar Association, said in her 19 years with the Bar, she was not aware of another case where one of the state’s top elected officials indicated a willingness to step down to take a seat on a state court.

Wyoming’s top elected officials to take oaths of office

in Uncategorized

Wyoming’s top officials will be sworn into office on Monday as three new officers and two returning officials take their oaths of office.

Gov. Mark Gordon, Treasurer Curt Meier and Auditor Kristie Racines, all elected to their posts in 2018, will be sworn into their new offices during ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. at Cheyenne’s Civic Center at 520 W. 20th St. 

Also being sworn in will be second-term Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow and Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, who was elected to his first full term in 2018 after taking over the office in March following the resignation of Ed Murray.

The inauguration of the five Republicans is open to the public at no charge, however, tickets are required for admission as seating is limited. The formal inauguration will be part of a day filled with events marking the event.Activities begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday with a prayer service at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at 1908 Central Ave. in Cheyenne. Seating for the event will be limited.

Following the inauguration will be a public reception for the elected officials at 11:30 a.m. at the Wyoming State Museum at 2103 Central Ave.

The day will end with an inauguration gala at 7:30 p.m. at Little America Hotel at 2800 West Lincolnway. The event will be open to the public at a cost of $125 per person.

Gordon becomes Wyoming’s 33rd governor after serving for six years as the state’s treasurer.

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