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Polling locations, absentee voting procedure approved for Campbell County

Campbell County residents line up outside of the Campbell County Courthouse on Monday for early voting.

Campbell County residents line up outside of the Campbell County Courthouse in 2020 for early voting.

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Elections Coordinator Michelle Leiker brought multiple resolutions related to election procedures before the Campbell County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. Following the approval of her resolutions, she also spoke about several important changes regarding upcoming elections.

First, given that many of the election precincts within the county lack spaces for adequate polling places, a resolution seeking to combine all precincts within Gillette city limits to one polling place was proposed.

The resolution, which states that the CAM-PLEX Wyoming Center would serve as a polling place for all 37 precincts as a matter of convenience for voters, was unanimously approved. A related resolution to maintain precinct boundaries that had been set by redistricting in 2022 was also unanimously approved with little discussion from commissioners.

The third of Leiker’s four resolutions was to determine appropriate numbers of precinct committee members for the Democratic and Republican parties. The amount awarded to each was based on prior voting, Leiker explained.

“In 2022’s election, [there were] 250 votes in the US Representatives race. So we go through and take the total votes for that candidate and then divide it by 250, and that gives us a fractional number. And so we go through and we round up, so the numbers you have on this resolution are based off of that,” Leiker said.

That resolution was also approved unanimously after being motioned by Commissioner Jordan and Seconded by Commissioner Ford.

Finally, a resolution was approved for the elections office to function as a polling place for absentee voters in Campbell County. Leiker pointed out that this had been done in years past, but a tighter window for absentee voting this year meant having a dedicated place for absentee voters to go to would streamline the process and make voting easier for them.

The absentee voting window opens on July 23 this year, Leiker said, and the absentee option would be open to anyone in the county to vote early if they so wished.

“It’s fairly handy for shift workers and mine workers who only get an hour allowed to go and vote. If they are wanting to go and vote on election day, by the time that they drive to their polling place, if they live in Gillette, that’s not sufficient time to drive in and vote and then drive back,” Lieker said.

Over 3,000 voters voted by absentee in the last election, and doing so also cut down on envelopes that needed to be tallied by hand on election day. As Leiker explained to the board, when a voter votes by absentee in person at the elections office, there isn’t a need to process the envelope through the postal service, and the vote is collected and tallied as soon as it is received.

By contrast, absentee ballots sent in by mail must be held until election day to be opened and have the corresponding vote recorded.

In addition to shortening of the absentee voter window, other changes are in play for this year’s election cycle. Voters who wish to change their party affiliation are now required to do so by 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 15. Voters will not be allowed to change their party affiliation from May 16 to Aug. 20 this year.

Voters who did not vote last November may also have been recently purged from voter registration, as required by state statute. Re-registering on election day is possible, but Leiker cautioned it may not be a great option for people on a time crunch on election day, as it would require additional time in line.

Multiple online tools exist to check if you are registered to vote; click here to check your registration status. If you are registered to vote and interested in voting absentee, see the Wyoming Secretary of State website for more information.