Voter registration for the primary election closes on Monday, but eligible electors can still register and cast a ballot after that date.
Based on Wyoming statute, a person may register to vote not less than 14 days prior to the election. However, Albany County Clerk Jackie Gonzales said Wyoming voters can still register after Monday, they just must cast a ballot on the same day.
“What this means is that it doesn’t disenfranchise anybody the right to come in and register to vote,” Gonzales said. “If they choose to do so, they have to use that as their election day.”
Voter education, Gonzales said, is critical to the success of an election.
“Allowing voters the knowledge or the information and giving them that information is most helpful,” Gonzalez said.
In order for votes to be counted, ballots must be returned to the Albany County Courthouse’s adjacent election building by 7 p.m. Aug. 18.
With voter registration for the primary election closing Monday, the Albany County Clerk’s office has seen a substantial increase in absentee ballot requests compared to the 2016 election cycle.
As of Thursday afternoon, the clerk’s office had sent out 4,740 absentee ballots, compared to a total of 674 in 2016. In addition to absentee ballots mailed out by the clerk’s office, 206 electors have taken absentee ballots, 53 had been mailed to uninformed overseas citizens and 168 early ballots were cast at the elections building.
Gonzalez attributed part of the increase in absentee ballots to the coronavirus.
“The convenience for the elector to get an absentee ballot and vote at their convenience,” Gonzalez said, was also a contributing factor.
Additionally, the Secretary of State sent out fliers to every registered elector encouraging them to participate in absentee voting.
“The reminder that was given probably prompted people to take advantage. As we prepare for the election, social distancing will be a big factor and having to wait when we’re accustomed to just standing in line and not thinking about a six foot distance; it’s going to make a difference.” Gonzalez said.
With increased attention given to mail-in ballots and absentee voting, critics, including President Donald Trump, have questioned the security of distance voting methods.
Gonzalez told the Boomerang that there’s a checks and balances system in place that ensures an accurate election.
“I have an absentee ballot board that will look to see and compare the request to the ballot received, that the envelope’s been signed and they can properly open the envelope and get the absentee ballot processed.” Gonzalez said, “I have always promoted the open door approach. If anybody has a concern about the policies and the procedures and how we handle things I’m more than willing to sit down and meet with them.”