Wyoming’s secretary of state and Albany County’s clerk want to assure voters that elections in the state’s 23 counties are not rigged.
With a memorable 2016 election nearing its end, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly said he thinks the election could be rigged, as long as it doesn’t end with his victory. The assertion that mass voter fraud could take place was refuted by many, including many fellow Republicans.
Joining Republican secretaries of state in Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Arizona and Georgia, Wyoming’s Republican Secretary of State Ed Murray released a statement Thursday reassuring voters the system in the Cowboy State is not rigged.
“Recent comments that an election could be rigged gives Wyoming’s 23 County Clerks and myself, as chief election official, the opportunity to assure our citizens of the integrity of our voting process,” Murray says in the release. “Wyoming’s county clerks and I are able to state categorically that Wyoming’s election process will not be ‘rigged’ or ‘hacked.’”
Albany County Clerk Jackie Gonzales said she’s confident in the statutorily mandated procedures and her office’s diligence in ensuring a fair, legitimate election.
“Our checks and balances are in place, and I’m very confident we can ensure the integrity of the election in Albany County will be preserved,” she said. “We have an open process, and citizens are certainly able to come during the canvassing board process to see what those checks and balances are. We can affirm the election will be valid and certified. We can work together as a team.”
Gonzales said she’s not aware of any cases of voter fraud in Albany County.
“I’ve never had an issue or complaint of potential fraud that’s been brought to my attention,” she said.
Though the state undertook additional efforts in 2016 to verify the citizenship status of voters, Gonzales said she wants to assure voters who already registered that they do not need to bring any additional identification or proof of citizenship at polling locations on Election Day.
The Secretary of State’s Office undertook an effort this year to satisfy fears that non-citizens would be allowed to vote, though State Election Director Kai Schon told the Associated Press he’s not aware of any such cases.
In the Thursday media release, the Secretary of State’s Office says, “All voters must attest that they are citizens and eligible to vote. Wyoming’s voter registration system interfaces with data from the Wyoming Departments of Transportation, Health, Corrections, and the Division of Criminal Investigation to prevent voter fraud such as votes cast by deceased persons. If voter fraud were to ever occur, those individuals would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
In February, county officials, including Gonzales, were informed the Secretary of State’s Office was working with the Wyoming Department of Transportation in regard to its system for validating driver’s licenses. If there was a concern about a voter’s status, Gonzales said there was a procedure in place to contact those voters and requesting they verify their eligibility to vote in Albany County.
The list Gonzales received from the state included less than 40 names, and she said the response rate is in the 90th percentile. Gonzales said Albany County was able to verify eligible voting status for all of those who responded.
Gonzales said she understands concerns that the Secretary of State’s Office and county clerks are targeting specific groups, but she doesn’t see the initiative as such.
“I think it’s just a misunderstanding — there’s no personal attack on anybody,” she said. “We’re just following up to make sure voter records are accurate and that our checks and balances are in place.”
Gonzales said she’s had inquiries, and invites any concerned residents to contact her office at 721-2541.