Tag archive


Park County Group Testifies Against Hand Counting Ballots From 2020 Election

in elections/News

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Leo Wolfson, political reporter

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in elections/News

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in elections/News

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in elections/News
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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).”  

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Lawsuit Challenges New Wyoming Voter ID Law

in News/Legislature
Win McNamee/Getty Images

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike and Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily

A lawsuit filed in state district court this week accuses Wyoming’s legislators of violating multiple sections of Wyoming’s Constitution with the state’s new voter ID law.

The lawsuit filed in Albany County District Court by former legislator Charles Pelkey on behalf of Tim Newcomb said the law requiring voters to show identification when casting their ballots infringes on the ability of citizens to vote.

“We’re interested in protecting people’s access to the ballot and getting access to the ballot should be as easy and convenient as possible,” Pelkey told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “Across the country, not only in Wyoming, we need to be challenging these efforts, otherwise we’re going to lose out on so many rights.”  

The voter ID law was enacted through House Bill 75 in 2021, which not only continues the existing requirement for voters to show a government-issued ID when registering to vote, but adds the requirement to show an ID when voting. The addition is what is being targeted by the lawsuit. 

The filing argued the ID law violates the “constitutional right essential to suffrage both in passage and operation” and is a “trammel against voting rights.”

He told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that the lawsuit was intended to show that there was no “fundamental” need for the law to be enacted. 

“There’s no reason why you should challenge voters when they’re attempting to express their democratic vote,” Pelkey said. “Like it says in the lawsuit, we thank people for serving on a jury. I think we should thank people for exercising the right to vote.” 

However, Rep. Chuck Gray (Casper-R), lead sponsor of the bill, called the lawsuit “another example of how the radical left wants to cheat in elections.”

Gray noted the bill was approved in both chambers — by a vote of 51-9 in the House and 28-2 in the Senate —- before being signed into law by Gov. Mark Gordon.

“The radical left is trying to challenge a legally passed law,” he said.

Detractors of the bill argued while it was being considered that voter fraud in Wyoming is a non-existent problem and the legislation would subdue voter turnout.  

Wyoming is one of 35 states to have a voter ID law and one of 20 states to require a photo ID. The law went into effect last fall for local elections but will be tested on a much broader scale this year.

In the lawsuit, Pelkey also alludes to the state having the technology available for poll workers to access a photo ID that was used during the registration process rather than making the voter provide it again in-person.

“This is not the last century,” the lawsuit said. “State government needs to show why the first acceptable photo ID cannot display automatically to the poll workers when people vote, so voters can be welcomed and thanked for voting – rather than challenged.”

An Associated Press review of the 2020 presidential election conducted in 2021 found fewer than 475 potential voter fraud cases in six battleground states.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in elections/News

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Secretary of State Ed Buchanan Announces Reelection Campaign

in elections/News

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Wyoming Senate Passes Crossover Voting Bill On Third Reading

in elections/News/Legislature

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Senate Ag Committee Unanimously Supports Crossover Voting Bill

in elections/News/Legislature

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Wyoming State House Rejects Runoff Election Plan

in News/Legislature

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A plan to create a runoff election system was rejected by the Wyoming House of Representatives on Thursday.

Representatives voted not to introduce House Joint Resolution 3, a proposed constitutional amendment that was part of a two-bill effort to hold a runoff election when one candidate in a primary race for office receives less than 50% of the votes cast.

Rep. Chip Neiman, R-Hulett, said he has heard from many constituents they do not like the fact that a party’s candidate for office in a general election may not have received more than half the votes cast in the primary.

“Folks in the country are very interested in being able to select a candidate that would represent them that would have more than just a plurality of the vote,” he said while arguing in support of the bill. “They would like to see a person represent them with at least a majority-plus-1 vote to go on.”

Neiman had also proposed House Bill 74, which would set up the runoff system to be held in cases where the winner of the primary receives less than half the votes cast, as has happened in crowded primaries in the past. The runoff would feature the top two finishers in the race.

“If you would have the candidate who leads with 30% of the vote, that would tell us 70% of the folks of that party did not support that candidate,” he said. “I think we owe those people an opportunity to decide if they want to be able to have a runoff, take the two people and then make that decision.”

The proposed constitutional amendment would have built extra time into the election schedule to allow for a runoff election, if necessary, between the primary election and the general.

However, opponents to Neiman’s proposal said a runoff system was not needed.

“This is trying to fix a problem that does not exist,” said Rep. Pat Sweeney, R-Casper.

With the death of the joint resolution, Neiman said he would not pursue HB74 this year.

“(I am) disappointed that the voters will not have the chance to vote on this, but undaunted, we will bring it back in the hope the voters will have an opportunity to vote their desires,” he told Cowboy State Daily.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Wyoming GOP Passes Resolution To Support Runoff Elections

in elections/News

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

County Clerks In Wyoming Hear Increased Questions About Election Integrity

in elections/News

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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. 

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Federal Judge Rules Wyoming Election Day Campaign Limits Unconstitutional

in elections/News

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Gray, Bouchard Celebrate Gordon Signing Voter ID Bill Into Law

in elections/News

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in elections/News

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Go to Top