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Secretary of State Gray silent on True the Vote’s lack of voter fraud evidence

During his campaign, Gray sponsored showings of a film that alleged widespread voter fraud in swing states. But the nonprofit whose claims the film was based on admitted it has no evidence.

Secretary of State Chuck Gray, then a Republican representative from Casper in the Wyoming House, speaks at the Save Wyoming rally in Lander on July 22, 2022. (Mike Koshmrl/WyoFile)

by Maya Shimizu Harris, WyoFile

During his 2022 campaign, Secretary of State Chuck Gray sponsored several showings across Wyoming of the controversial film “2000 Mules,” which alleges that rampant “ballot harvesting” in swing states stole the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump. 

Though fact-checkers and critics have previously debunked the film’s claims, the story remains a fixation in the minds of some politicians. Gray himself, whom Trump endorsed, ran in part on the promise to quash voter fraud and ban ballot drop boxes. 

But the conservative nonprofit whose claims the film was based upon — True the Vote — has no evidence to back its assertions that widespread voter fraud occurred in one of the swing states examined in the film, the organization’s response to a court order shows

Attorneys for True the Vote said in a written response to a judge’s order that the organization didn’t have recordings, documents or other evidence backing its claims of widespread voter fraud in Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported earlier this month. 

This admission came about after True the Vote filed complaints in 2021 with the Georgia secretary of state alleging “coordinated efforts to collect and deposit ballots in drop boxes across metro Atlanta” during the 2020 election and a 2021 runoff. Georgia officials subsequently demanded that True the Vote turn over evidence and information about the organization’s claims, and an Atlanta judge eventually ordered True the Vote to do so. 

But it didn’t have such evidence. 

In response to each request, attorneys wrote that True the Vote doesn’t have in “its possession, custody, or control” this information. 

WyoFile sent Gray questions Thursday afternoon about whether this new information has impacted his impression of the film’s merit and whether he would have still chosen to host showings of the film had True the Vote’s lack of evidence come to light sooner. Gray hadn’t responded as of Monday early afternoon. 

Secretary of State Chuck Gray, State Treasurer Curt Meier and Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder exit the Wyoming House of Representatives after Gov. Mark Gordon’s State of the State on Feb. 12, 2024. (Ashton J. Hacke/WyoFile)

Though election integrity has been a rallying cry for Gray and other electeds in Wyoming, voter fraud in the state is exceedingly rare, statistics show. Since 2000, there have only been three documented cases of fraud in Wyoming, according to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. 

Gray ran partly on a platform of banning ballot drop boxes — a central focus of the film’s voter fraud claims — asserting that nixing drop boxes is “a basic election integrity and security measure” and that it’s “pivotal” to discontinue their use, the Casper Star-Tribune reported at the time. 

In late 2022, Gray’s predecessor, interim Secretary of State Karl Allred, asked county clerks to do away with drop boxes. But none ultimately complied with his request. 

Gray hasn’t acted against drop boxes since taking office in January 2023, focusing his attention on other election issues like durational residency requirements — a topic that lawmakers considered in the Legislature this year, but the proposed legislation died Friday. 

Gray didn’t respond as of Monday early afternoon to questions from WyoFile about whether he still believes banning ballot drop boxes is important for election integrity and, if so, whether he has taken action to try to get rid of them.  

People who have argued against the policies that Gray and others have espoused worry that further tightening election laws could disenfranchise voters more than it will protect against fraud.

This article was originally published by WyoFile and is republished here with permission. WyoFile is an independent nonprofit news organization focused on Wyoming people, places and policy.