Wyoming Constitutional Amendment A Fails

Nov 5, 2020

The constitutional amendment to remove the limit of debt municipalities can have on sewer projects has failed after Tuesday's general election.

Though the majority of votes on the issue were in support of it, those more than 126,000 votes made up only 45 percent of total votes cast in the election. More than 50 percent is the threshold required to amend Wyoming's Constitution.

Nine counties had total results that voters were against the amendment.

Justin Schilling with the Wyoming Association of Municipalities, which supported the amendment, said the loss was disappointing.

"I don't think we expected as much of an undervote, as we saw, weren't as you know, people that cast ballots, but didn't vote either way on it, at a little over 30,000 of those, which... I think it really speaks to people's comfort with what the amendment is [and] what it does," Schilling said.

The current limit of debt municipalities set by the constitution is four percent of assessed valuation.

Schilling said the result should not have an immediate impact on how municipalities will handle sewer system projects, since they've worked under this amendment for all of Wyoming history. But it will continue to limit the ways they can be funded.

"What this would have done is just put another tool in the toolbox. For municipalities that were looking to, hopefully get the sewer project sooner, I think was really the biggest motivation amongst our members that had requested this legislation, was the idea of being able to address some things sooner rather than later, by applying a little more borrowing power to what they had before," Schilling said. "But I don't think it's, I don't think it's necessarily a totally dire result."

Schilling said the biggest blow to the amendment passing was likely the lack of voter education on the issue.

"I think we learned some things from the process," he said. "If we were to approach this, you know, seek the same legislation again, and to approach the voters with, you know, with it again, at some point in the future."

Wyoming Public Radio had previously reported on air the amendment had passed. We regret this error.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu .