The Wyoming House on Monday killed a bill that would have extended the period for counting absentee ballots. House Corporations Committee Chairman Dan Zwonitzer (R, HD-43, Cheyenne) sponsored HB68 that would have required county clerks to count absentee ballots received by the clerk after polls closed. Under existing law, clerks count only ballots delivered to them before polls close. Zwonitzer said the measure would have required the clerks to count absentee ballots postmarked the day before an election, provided they were received before a county’s canvassing board met to certify election results the following Friday. County clerks had expressed their dissatisfaction with the bill in a committee hearing last week. Their opposition came through during floor debate Monday. Rep. Lloyd Larsen (R, HD-54, Lander), said his clerk had lobbied him to vote against the bill. When she calls, he listens, he said. Other representatives said they likewise had been called by their county clerks.
Rep. Furphy (R, HD-14, Laramie), said the clerks were concerned the bill reduced voter responsibility. They’re also afraid it would extend the vote counting period and thus narrow the period in which a recount could be performed, he said. “They’re asking us not to pass this bill,” he said.
Rep. Tyler Lindholm (R, HD-1, Sundance) testified in favor of the bill. Both he and Furphy had listened to the clerks’ testimony in committee. “I think this has a lot more to do with the fact that it will increase workload — as it should,” Lindholm said. “More votes are being counted.”
The bill failed, 13 to 47.