Interim secretary of state’s written request won’t affect how voters can cast ballots in the 2022 general election.
Mike Koshmrl, Wyofile
Election officials in the seven Wyoming counties where voters can cast ballots via drop boxes disregarded interim Secretary of State Karl Allred’s request to ditch the boxes.
Allred, a Uinta County Republican Party committeeman, made the request in the first week of his appointed secretary of state tenure via a letter to Wyoming’s 23 county clerks. The missive from the Evanston gas plant foreman lacked legal teeth and so the request could be ignored — and none of the counties that still use drop boxes for absentee ballots made any changes.
Ballot drop boxes have been made controversial by unsubstantiated claims about election fraud. They were used without any evidence of fraud during the 2020 election in 11 Wyoming counties: Albany, Big Horn, Carbon, Converse, Fremont, Johnson, Laramie, Park, Sheridan, Sweetwater and Teton.
Four of those counties did away with their boxes prior to the 2022 primary and general elections: Big Horn, Park, Johnson and Sheridan, according to clerks in those counties.
It is up to the discretion of county clerks to use drop boxes.
In his letter Allred wrote that seven counties were still using ballot drop boxes. WyoFile’s outreach to county clerk offices suggests that several of those are “general” county boxes, where residents can leave items like vehicle registration payments, but also ballots. The seven counties are Albany, Carbon, Converse, Fremont, Laramie, Sweetwater and Teton, where clerks did not take action in response to Allred’s request.
Who said what:
“Laramie County will continue operation of its drop box. With less than a month to the General Election, elimination of this safe, secure, and convenient way for voters to deliver their ballots to the County Clerk would be disruptive and result in a greater number of rejected ballots and votes,” Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee stated in a letter to Allred.
“Ours gets utilized quite a bit. I definitely didn’t feel like it was fair to the voters to remove it,” Converse County Clerk Karen Rimmer.