Canvassing board

Jackie Gonzales, left, Kayla White, right, and other members of the canvassing board review write-in votes for the Laramie Rivers Conservation District supervisor Friday afternoon at the Albany County Courthouse.

Albany County’s canvassing board finished verifying and certifying each election ballot Friday, making the results of Tuesday’s election official.

Albany County Clerk Jackie Gonzales said a total 14,515 votes were cast either in-person or via mail. Although the number of ballots cast was a decline from the 17,245 votes in the 2016 presidential election, she said the turnout was still impressive.

“For a midterm election it was an incredible turnout,” Gonzales said. “We were very pleased at the outcome of the number of electors that cast their ballot. … it was huge in comparison to what we had in the past.”

Gonzales said she heard from multiple election judges at the different polling places that young voters greatly exceeded expectations.

“We won’t have the statistics until we enter all of the new voter registration cards,” Gonzales said. “(But) in visiting the polling places and receiving comments from the judges of election, there was an overwhelming amount of young voters that turned out to register and participate in this election cycle.”

Although the demographic statistics have yet to be released, Target Smart, a national political data services firm, said 18- to 25-year-old early voter turnout in Wyoming was 35 times higher than the 2014 midterm elections.

The County Clerk’s office is confident with the results and recounts aren’t expected, but Gonzales said one candidate still might not know he won.

“We did process the write-in results for Laramie Rivers Conservation District supervisor and the canvassing board certified those results,” Gonzales said. “Orville Johnson received the high write-ins, and certainly we’ll notify him, and he has opportunity to accept the write-ins. We’ll have him — should he accept — fill out application to get all of his information, and then we’ll provide him with a certificate of election.”

Members of both the Albany County Democrats and the Albany County GOP said they are happy with the high voter turnout and are already setting their sites on 2020.

“I think the turnout was tremendous,” said Mike Pearce, state committeeman for the Albany County Republican Party. “It looks like a lot more Democrats turned out than Republicans, and certainly we’re disappointed with that, but at the same time it’s exciting to see so many people get involved in the process.”

Pearce said he heard many people say it was their first-time voting. However, he added he sees some room for growth in 2020.

“When you get 14,000 people — that’s an exciting amount of people, and that’s definitely awesome to see,” Pearce said. “The Republican party is very excited about the feedback, and there’s a lot of growth we can see for everybody here in Albany County, so we’re excited about that.”

Sharon Cumbie, Albany County Democrats’ campaigns coordinator, said she was impressed by not only the high turnout but also the enthusiasm in the election.

“It was extremely high for a midterm, so we were very pleased about that,” Cumbie said. “Some of our candidates got mighty close, so we were encouraged by that. I think one of the most encouraging things is people just seemed more enthusiastic and encouraged to get involved this time, and it gave us an opportunity to build on the organization, to build our volunteers and to connect in a way that we feel was a great strength.”

Cumbie added she doesn’t want to lose any momentum going to 2020, because volunteer bases can be hard to build from scratch.

“Our goal is to do activities and speakers and things to keep people connected and to start working now towards 2020,” Cumbie said. “In these six months prior to the midterms, we saw an outpouring of people and interest that we had not seen before. We want to hold on to that and build on it and just keep going. … It takes two months to start rebuilding the volunteer base, and we’re going to work on keeping it together and doing things that promote interest and participation.”

The enthusiasm has been infectious and even made for a “festive” Election Day, Cumbie said.

“People have said later that they just felt like a community, that they came together as a community and that’s what it felt like to me,” Cumbie added.

Gonzales offered her “sincere thanks” to everyone involved with the election, including her staff, the election judges and electors.

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