In the future, Wyomingites could be filling out their ballots from the comfort of their own home. A proposed bill to allow counties to move to mail-in ballot elections cleared a major hurdle Wednesday, passing out of the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee on an 11-2 vote. But whether or not it finds support in the full Legislature next session remains to be seen. The bill would give county clerks the option to switch over their elections to a mail-in ballot. Voters would receive a ballot at their residence and could drop it off or mail it back to the county clerk’s office, or drop it off at one of several secured ballot drop boxes across the county. The bill also mandates the county have one polling center open on the day of the election where voters could drop off a ballot or fill one out.
Articles about voting issues in Wyoming.
Wyoming: FBI partners with Wyoming, Cheyenne officials to prevent election hacking | Wyoming Tribune Eagle
Election officials and candidates from across the state came to Cheyenne on Friday to get an intensive course in cybersecurity from the FBI. The event was a chance for the FBI to partner with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office to help educate county clerks and candidates for elected office. Experts from both government agencies spent Friday covering types of threats the group could face, how to keep their organizations secure and what steps they should take if they become the target of a suspected hack. “I call it Cyber 101. We want to educate them regarding potential cyber threats, but also the tools available to them to potentially mitigate the threats,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Calvin Shivers. “We wanted to take a proactive posture and educate our elected officials, our candidates, our clerks of court regarding potential threats.
The morning after his GOP primary election loss, Foster Friess asked other state party gubernatorial candidates whether they would support banning Democrats from switching parties on primary day. In an email to Wyoming GOP chairman Frank Eathorne and to each Republican candidate or a representative of their campaign — with the exception of Gordon — Friess said voting results didn’t reflect his vision of Wyoming’s political makeup. “It seems like the Democrats have figured out this party switch deal to their advantage,” Friess said in the email. “I guess there’s 114,000 registered Republicans and 17,000 registered Democrats. No way is that the actual mix, and with Trump getting 70% of the vote, it shows how the Democrats have been able to control our elections with putting on a Republican coat.”
Wyoming lawmakers are exploring the possibility of allowing counties to administer mail-in ballot systems, but one of the legislators in the committee that could move it forward said it’s unlikely it will go anywhere. For the last several years, county clerks from around Wyoming have been discussing the possibility of elections by mail. Several factors led to the notion, such as aging voting equipment that will be expensive to replace, difficulty finding suitable polling places and a shortage of election judges, said Debra Lee, Laramie County clerk. The expense of it all, she said, is becoming hard for clerks. And with Wyoming in an ongoing fiscal crunch, there’s little money available on the state or local levels to address the problems.
Wyoming is about halfway there. In an omnibus appropriations bill passed by the U.S. Congress this spring, legislators designated $380 million in elections security grants to the states, and Wyoming will be getting a $3 million chunk of those funds. The grants require a 5 percent match from states, working out to $150,000 from Wyoming. A formula breaking down distribution by county has yet to be hashed out, but will likely factor in population and individual county needs. The funds will be provided through the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which last disbursed payments for upgrades nationally in 2010. The last time Wyoming saw any of that money was in 2005, however, when the current generation of machines were bought for the 2006 elections.
The Wyoming Legislature will look at a measure to create a trust fund to maintain its voting systems going forward. The 2016 election saw an unprecedented number of attempts to interfere with states’ voting systems, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Wyoming was not among the 21 states that reported attempted hacking, but election security experts warned regional lawmakers recently that the Cowboy State could be a target for nefarious actors looking to undermine confidence in the American democratic process. Outdated voting equipment in Wyoming was replaced after funding was allocated by the federal government via the 2002 Help America Vote Act. But more than a decade later, many election custodians say that voting equipment has reached the end of its useful life, said Kai Schon, state elections director for the Wyoming Secretary of State.
Gov. Matt Mead on Thursday selected a former Wyoming secretary of state candidate and Laramie County prosecutor as the next secretary of state. Ed Buchanan will serve the remainder of Ed Murray’s term as the state’s election and business registration authority after Murray stepped down in early February over allegations of sexual misconduct. Mead said in a news release that Buchanan’s experience in the Legislature, military career and job as an attorney and prosecutor made him a good choice for the office. “Ed (Buchanan) is committed to Wyoming and to the responsibilities of the office,” Mead said in a news release.
The Plan for Aging Voting Equipment Task Force kicked into gear in Park County, with a public brainstorming session Feb. 20 at the Cody Library on ways of lowering election costs in order to cover what’s expected to be an $8-10 million bill for new voting machines in the state. … As the state struggles to find funding for future elections, it is exploring ways to lower costs by asking voters how they would feel about the consolidation of polling places, casting ballots in county vote centers or switching to a vote-by-mail system.
Wyoming: Secretary of State Ed Murray resigns; move caps dramatic fall for Cheyenne politician | Casper Star Tribune
Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray announced his resignation late Friday afternoon, effective immediately. Murray said he has been “devastated” by two recent accusations of sexual misconduct and that he is now “unable to focus entirely on serving the good people of Wyoming.” … The resignation offers a dramatic conclusion to a two-month period during which the Cheyenne businessman went from the likely frontrunner to replace Gov. Matt Mead to a private citizen. Murray’s troubles began in mid-December when a woman named Tatiana Maxwell accused him in a public Facebook post of sexually assaulting her in the early 1980s when Murray and Maxwell were both working at a Cheyenne law firm. Murray strenuously denied the allegation.
Wyoming voting officials have started looking into replacing aging election equipment across the state. A panel of state officials has been convened to determine whether new machines are needed and how much replacement would cost, as well as where to seek funding. “The State of Wyoming is responsible for providing citizens with an election process that can be trusted. Wyoming is leading the charge with this Task Force to ensure that no county is left with voting equipment at risk of deteriorating,” State Election Director Kai Schon said in a statement.