Longtime Wyoming chief election official Peggy Nighswonger has resigned, citing what she calls philosophical differences with Secretary of State Ed Murray.
Nighswonger, who has overseen elections in the state for almost twenty years as the state Elections Director, says she had been planning to stay on through the 2016 elections so she could mentor a replacement. But she says she was unable to do that while working under Murray.
“There was just a difference of philosophy between the Secretary of State and I,” Nighswonger said in an interview. “So I think it will be better for him to move forward with his initiatives without me.”
Nighswonger declined to detail her disagreements with Secretary of State Murray. But she did say that Murray has been too focused on registering voters, and his office should be doing more to prepare for the 2016 elections.
Nighswonger is the second senior official to leave the Secretary of State’s office since Ed Murray was elected one year ago. Pat Arp, the former Deputy Secretary of State, left her job in March.
Nighswonger says she doesn’t know what she’ll do next yet, but she’s already received several offers.
In a written statement Ed Murray says the Secretary of State’s office is grateful for Nighswonger’s many years of service. He says his office will be conducting a nationwide search for Wyoming’s next Elections Director.