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Laramie lawyers challenge Wyoming's new voter ID law in court

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Creative Commons 2.0 / Eric Hersman

Two Laramie attorneys allege that Wyoming's new voter ID law is unconstitutional – saying it seeks to solve a rare problem in the state with a disproportionate solution.

Tim Newcomb and Charles Pelkey are suing the state of Wyoming in Albany County District Court, seeking to stop the law before most Wyomingites come face-to-face with it in the 2022 elections.

The Wyoming Legislature passed the voter ID law in 2021. The law will require voters to show an ID when voting. That's in addition to showing an ID when registering to vote, which voters were already required to do. The law received overwhelming support in both chambers.

Newcomb and Pelkey argue the State Legislature failed to show any evidence of voter fraud when it passed the law. And that even if the state could find examples of voter fraud, the law, as written, is excessive.

They argue that voter fraud is a rare crime – which is true. So, they argue, it is excessive for the state to require that residents show their ID twice – once at registration and once at the polls. The lawsuit says once should be enough, and that twice threatens to disenfranchise state residents.

The secretary of state, and county clerks, have started an education campaign, reminding people that they will need ID at the polls this year.

The lawsuit asks the court to stop the law from going into effect before the primaries this summer.

It's an "off-election" year nationally – meaning there is not a presidential race – but it's a big year for the state of Wyoming. All five statewide elected offices, including governor and superintendent of public instruction, will be on the ballots in August and November.

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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