Wyoming officials are facing mounting pressure to audit the 2020 election from pro-Trump activists asserting, without evidence, that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from the former president through widespread voter fraud. Activists across the state have flooded state lawmakers’ inboxes and voicemails with demands to investigate the state’s elections. These calls align with partisan efforts to relitigate election results in swing states like Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Activists have also repeatedly implored staffers of Gov. Mark Gordon and Sec. of State Ed Buchanan to pursue policies to bolster “election integrity.” County-level post-election audits are already commonplace in Wyoming, and are required by statute. That has not stopped the activist tide; State Sen. Mike Gierau, D-Jackson, said he’s received “dozens” of emails calling on lawmakers to pursue an election audit. “I’ve gotten to a point now that when people write about [voter fraud], I’d say they’d have to tell me that you understand that it’s not true, it didn’t happen, and that all you’re trying to do is trying to help frame your candidate for future elections,” Gierau said. “I want them to tell me they know that [Trump] did not win, that there was no substantive proof of election fraud anywhere in this country.” The “Wyoming First Audit” chatroom on the online messaging app Telegram has attracted more than 1,000 members — though some are organizing a wide-ranging effort to combat perceived voter fraud.
A state legislative committee voted Monday to pursue two bills that would significantly change the way Wyoming’s statewide elections are run as soon as next year. One bill would create a ranked-choice system. The other would institute an open primary. The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivision voted to draft the bills after initially discussing legislation that would require a runoff if one candidate did not receive a certain portion of the vote. But doubts about the feasibility of implementing that approach by next year’s election led lawmakers to look elsewhere. The effort to change Wyoming’s primary elections, which has been talked about for years, is gaining traction due to the increased desire to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney and the size of the field in the last gubernatorial election. During the 2018 election, for example, Gov. Mark Gordon received less than 50% of the vote but won after several far-right candidates split the electorate. Cheney’s critics worry about a similar result in next year’s GOP House primary, which already features nine candidates.