Wyoming secretary of state dismisses concerns
The Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office on Monday dismissed worries that the state’s election laws could put some absentee ballots at risk of not being counted.
August 18, 2020
The Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office on Monday dismissed worries that the state’s election laws could put some absentee ballots at risk of not being counted, a concern that a U.S. Postal Service official raised late last month in a letter to the state.
Similar letters were sent to 47 other states, The Washington Post reported. Tuesday is Wyoming’s primary election.
“Under our reading of Wyoming’s election laws, certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards,” Thomas Marshall, Postal Service general counsel and executive vice president, wrote in the letter to Secretary of State Ed Buchanan. “This mismatch creates a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted.”
That doesn’t match the state’s experience, however: While recent changes by Postal Service administrators have caused other states to see significant delays in mail service amid a push by President Donald Trump to suppress mail-in balloting (a stance he appeared to backtrack in a tweet Monday afternoon), state elections officials said Monday they had few concerns those changes would have any impact on Wyoming.
According to secretary of state spokesman Will Dinneen, they are unaware of any detrimental changes to the Postal Service in Wyoming that could impact the state’s elections, and that their point of contact with the Postal Service has assured them there have been no changes in the level of service they’ve offered.
“We don’t have any reason to believe the press on that,” State Election Director Kai Schon told reporters Monday.
While recent shakeups at the Postal Service are not anticipated to affect the state’s ability to receive absentee ballots, there is some potential for missed votes.
First class mail is delivered two to five days after being received by the Postal Service, the letter to Buchanan explains. The letter doesn’t touch on Tuesday’s primary election, but for the general election, it suggests the state not encourage mail-in voting later than 15 days before Election Day.
The letter points out a number of concerns with Wyoming’s election laws, including how late voters can request mail-in ballots and when they are allowed to be returned. While the Secretary of State’s Office has sent out a record number of absentee ballots, more than 16,000 had not been returned as of Monday afternoon and, if not received by the county clerk’s office by 7 p.m. on election night, those votes will not be counted.