State lawmakers will consider a bill this month that would give county clerks additional time after the primary and general elections to count mail-in absentee ballots. With a number of close races in 2016, absentee ballots can make a difference in the outcome, said Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, a Cheyenne Republican who is sponsoring House Bill 68. State law currently allows county clerks to accept mail-in ballots until 7 p.m. on the day of the election. But Zwonitzer said there are people who don’t mail in their ballots until a day before the election. If there are any delays at the post office, county clerks don’t receive the mail until after the election, and the ballots cannot be counted, he said.
HB 68 would allow county clerks to accept and count the ballots until the canvassing board certifies an election if the mail-in ballots are postmarked on or before Election Day.
In places such as Laramie County, the local canvassing board meets Friday morning, so ballots could arrive by mail until then.
“In Laramie County, just in the primary election, we had 80-some ballots come in after the 7 p.m. deadline – many of which came in Wednesday morning,” he said. “But they could never be counted.”