Tag archive

voting

Gray, Bouchard Celebrate Gordon Signing Voter ID Bill Into Law

in elections/News
9816

***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***

Voter ID Bill Headed to Wyoming Senate for Debates

in elections/News/Legislature
9678

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

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.”

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

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

in elections/News
9081

***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***

Wyoming Voters: How To Turn Off Facebook’s Annoying Voter Reminders

in News/Technology
6914

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

We noticed Cowboy State Daily columnist Dave Simpson was bothered by incessant voting reminders that plagued him whenever he opened up his Facebook page.

“I’ve voted in every election for the last 48 years. Thanks for all the reminders to vote, FB, but I don’t need your constant harping to get me to the polls,” he said to Facebook.

That got us to thinking: there’s gotta be a way to turn off that reminder.

We’re all for voting. We like voting. We prefer voting to anarchy, in fact.

But, if you don’t need the reminder, there should be a way to kill it.

With a little bit of sleuthing, we found the answer.

On your mobile phone, click the three lines at the bottom right of your screen. 

Scroll until you see an item called “See More.”  Click it.

Scroll until you see “Town Hall”.  Click it.

Look to your upper right and click on “Settings”.

At the very bottom, you’ll see a field called “Voting Reminders”.  Swipe the nob to the left.

On your desktop, look at the nav bar on the far left. Click “See More”.

Scroll down to “Town Hall”. Click on it.

On your far right, you’ll see “Voting Reminders”.  Click on it.

You will no longer get voting reminders.

Again, we prefer voting. We’re not encouraging coups or military overthrows or Chicago-style violence.

But if you are quite content in your voting plans and you’re tired of seeing the reminders, consider us your friendly helpers.

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

One-Fifth Of Wyoming’s Registered Already Cast Ballots

in elections/News
6874

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

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

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

Report: Wyoming Is One Of Nation’s Most Politically-Engaged States

in News/politics
6835

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

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming is one of the United States’ most politically-engaged states, according to a recent report.

Personal finance website WalletHub compared the 50 states based on 11 key indicators of political engagement, ranging from the percentage of registered voters in the 2016 presidential election” to “total political contributions per adult population.”

Wyoming is the fifth most politically-engaged state, following behind Maine, Washington, Colorado and Maryland, respectively.

The state placed first when looking at the largest percentage change in the number of people who cast ballots in the elections of 2016 compared to 2012, 3.2%.

Wyoming, New York, Massachusetts and Virginia all tied for first place when it came to the highest total political contributions per adult.

WalletHub also shared information that said Wyoming came in 14th in the country for its percentage of registered voters who voted in the 2016 presidential election and 15th for electorates — all people who are eligible to vote — who voted in 2016.

Wyoming also came in first for civic education engagement and 16th for its voter accessibility policies.

Hawaii is ranked as the country’s least politically-engaged state.

Nationally, only 61.4% of the voting age population voted in the 2016 presidential election and 53.4% voted in the 2018 midterm, WalletHub reported.

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

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

in elections/News
6001

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

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.

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

In Brief: Party switching bill dies in Senate

in News
Check mark in a box, ALT=box checked
977

By Cowboy State Daily

A bill that would have restricted when voters can change their party affiliations died in its first reading in the Senate on Thursday.

HB 106 was killed on a vote of 14-11.

The bill would have eliminated current laws that allow people to change party affiliation at the polls on the day of a primary election. Legislators looked at a number of possible deadlines for the change, from May 1 to two weeks prior to Wyoming’s August primary. As it entered the Senate, the bill also would have required a voter to present a photo ID to change party affiliation. That language was removed before senators voted to kill the bill itself.

The secretary of state’s office has reported that more than 12,000 people changed party affiliation prior to Wyoming’s last primary election. The Wyoming Republican Party had made putting time limits on those changes a priority for this session.

In Brief: Party switching bill clears Senate committee

in News
Wyoming party switching bill
960

By Cowboy State Daily

People wishing to change their party affiliations for a primary election would have to do so by May 1 under a bill that won approval from a Senate committee on Tuesday.

The Senate Agriculture Committee approved HB 106 on a vote of 4-1, sending it to the floor for review by the full Senate.

The bill has been changed a number of times since being introduced and the committee on Tuesday changed it again. Under amendments approved by the committee, Republicans or Democrats wishing to change parties would have to do so by May 1. Independents wishing to join a major party would have to do so no later than two week before a primary. Current Wyoming law allows people to change party affiliation at the polls on the day of a primary election. That practice would no longer be allowed.

In Wyoming’s last election, the secretary of state’s office reported more than 12,000 people changed party affiliation. The Wyoming Republican Party has made placing time restrictions on such changes a priority for the Legislature.

Wyoming Legislative Week-in-Review: Construction, Medicaid, minimum wage bills all die in Legislature

in News
899

By Cowboy State Daily

Funding for construction projects across the state fell in a unanimous vote in the Senate this week, joining several other high-profile bills that failed to make it through the legislative process.

SF 162 would have provided more than $50 million for various construction projects, including upgrades and new construction for community colleges and a new roof for the State Penitentiary. However, senators voted 30-0 against the measure in its final Senate review. Senate leaders including President Drew Perkins, R-Casper, said the bill’s death was part of the Senate’s attempt to save money to offset possible budget shortfalls next year.

Also killed was a bill that would have expanded the number of people in the state eligible to receive Medicaid. HB 244 was killed in its first review by the full House on Monday.

A measure that would have raised Wyoming’s minimum wage from $515 per hour to $8.50 also died. HB 273 was killed in its first review by the full House.

However, two bills aimed at limiting when voters can change their party affiliations were approved for further debate. HB 106 would require voters to change their affiliations at least two weeks before a primary election. SF 162 would require those changes to take place two weeks before absentee ballots for a primary election are mailed to voters — usually in mid-June. 

Also approved was HB 235, a bill creating a penalty of felony animal abuse.

‘Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Day’ headed for governor’s desk

in News
Historical Newspaper illustration of Women's Sufferage, ALT=Women's Suffrage Day Wyoming
893

By Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming's Suffrage Day bill headed for Governor Mark Gordon's desk. Photo from scene at polls with first woman voter.
Image from Library of Congress: Woman suffrage in Wyoming Territory. — Scene at the polls in Cheyenne / from a photo. by Kirkland. )

Wyoming will celebrate “Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Day” in December under a bill headed to the governor’s desk.

Senate Joint Resolution 3 would have the state recognize the day on Dec. 10.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Affie Ellis, R-Cheyenne, and was co-sponsored by a number of legislators, including every woman serving in the House and Senate.

Dec. 10 is the 150th anniversary of the day Wyoming — then a territory — became the first to adopt a law giving women the right to vote.

The bill won unanimous approval from members of the House and Senate and on Friday was signed as an “enrolled joint resolution” by Senate President Drew Perkins, R-Casper. It next heads to the desk of House Speaker Steve Harshman, R-Casper, for his signature before going to Gov. Mark Gordon for signing.

Representatives approve their version of party switching bill

in News
Wyoming party switching bill
866

By Cowboy State Daily

One of the two measures aimed at limiting when voters can change their party affiliation won final approval from the House on Wednesday.

HB 106 was approved in a vote of 41-18, send the bill to the Senate for its review.

The bill would make voters who want to switch their party affiliations do so no later than two weeks before a primary election. It would also eliminate the option for voters to switch parties on the day of a primary election.

A Senate version of the bill won its final Senate approval on Tuesday. While the bills are similar, SF 160 has different deadlines for party switching — it would have to be done at least two weeks before the Secretary of State’s office sends absentee ballots for a primary election to voters. Those ballots are usually sent in mid-June.

Measure restricting changes in voter affiliation killed in committee

in News
Silhoutte of vote being cast into box, ALT=voter, voter affiliation
738

By Cowboy State Daily

A measure to restrict when voters can change their party affiliations was narrowly defeated in a Senate committee Tuesday.

Senate File 32 would have prevented voters from changing party affiliation after candidates begin filing for office — usually in early May.

Under current law, a voter can change his or her affiliation at the polls on the day of the primary election.

Some 12,500 Wyoming voters changed their party affiliations prior to last year’s primary election. The state’s Republican Party, expressing concern about how such switches might affect a party’s primary, made a bill to restrict such switching a priority.

The bill died on a vote of 3-2 in the Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee.

Party switch bill gets first committee review

in News
716

By Cowboy State Daily

A bill that would put limits on when voters can change their party affiliations got mixed reviews Thursday in its first session in a Senate committee.

The Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee began its work on SF 32, which would require voters changing party affiliation to do so before the filing period opens for political candidates — usually in May.

Currently, voters can change their affiliations as late as the day of the primary. In last year’s election, the Secretary of State’s office reported an estimated 12,500 voters changed their party affiliations.

After last year’s primary election, Wyoming Republicans made the issue of party switching a top priority.

Frank Eathorne, Wyoming Republican Party chairman, said the bill would make sure political parties can select their own nominees without interference.

“It’s about party integrity,” he said. “Parties are not governmental entities. We are private entities. And we have that destiny in our hands and that decision making is up to us.”

However, Nina Herbert, communications director for the Wyoming Democratic Party, said voters need to be given the chance to vote for the candidate they feel is best suited for office, regardless of party affiliation.

“The Wyoming Democratic Party supports open elections that are easily accessible to every eligible voter,” she said. “Jut throwing up another roadblock on party affiliation changes is not going to accomplish that.”

The committee was unable to complete its work on the bill Thursday and will continue its review next week.

Go to Top