Wyoming's Election Season Is Here

May 14, 2020

Credit Creative Commons 2.0 / Eric Hersman

The 2020 candidate filing period for Wyoming is officially open. And with that, Wyoming's Secretary of State Ed Buchanan has also launched a campaign to keep voters informed and safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

During a press conference Wednesday, Buchanan said when it comes to voting, Wyomingites have two choices: either in-person or by mailing in an absentee ballot.

"In fact, the overwhelming majority of Wyoming citizens prefer to vote in person. And our constitution only provides for two ways to vote—and that's in person and that's by absentee voting," he said. He referenced in past elections that have historically been split about 80 to 20 percent, respectively, between the two voting methods.

More recently, however, voter turnout doubled from previous years at Wyoming's Democratic caucus when it moved to mail-in voting last month.

"I recognize that as we take steps to ensure that citizens are safe, we have to balance that with taking steps to ensure our elections are safe and secure," Buchanan said.

Bucahan said his office has issued a number of directives to help local governments follow social distancing and public health protocols, including mailing educational pamphlets to registered voters this month with more details about both in-person and absentee voting.

For instance, municipalities that had elections planned for May can delay them to later this month or later this summer. Additionally, county governments and clerks can vary both the time period for early or absentee voting, as well as the number of polling places. Buchanan gave the example of counties moving voting to a larger venue in order to accomodate a more populous area. The Secretary of State's office is using federal funds to ensure election workers have personal protective equipment.

Wyoming's primary election is August 18. The general election November 3.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Maggie Mullen, at mmullen5@uwyo.edu.