In a preliminary vote Thursday, the state Senate approved a bill that would allow Wyoming counties to create centralized voting places. Senate File 52 has to pass two more rounds of voting before it heads to the House, and some lawmakers are questioning whether the bill would disenfranchise rural voters and endanger election records. In Wyoming, polling places are by neighborhood precinct in larger cities. In rural areas, a precinct may comprise an entire community. SF52 would let counties create centers where registered voters could cast ballots regardless of precinct. The bill would also allow electronic pollbooks, which provide information to poll workers about whether a voter is registered. Currently, pollbooks are printed on paper. The Wyoming County Clerks Association supports central polling places. It believes centers would increase voter participation.
For instance, if someone lives in one part of town but works in another, a voting center may be convenient, Laramie County Clerk Debbye Lathrop told members of the Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee on Thursday morning, before the bill went to the floor for the preliminary vote.
Sen. Charlie Scott, R-Casper, opposed the bill in committee. He worries about voters in places such as Midwest, Edgerton and Alcova. Some people drive 60 miles to vote, he said.
“I think this will result in the closure of many of the rural precincts,” he said. “Frankly, most of my district is a little larger than the state of Connecticut. Most people are concentrated in the urban areas. I don’t think the rural electorate carries much weight with the city folks.”
Full Article: [Updated] Rural lawmakers question voting centers in Wyoming.