Democrats vow more action in Fremont Co. voting
May 30, 2019
By Clair McFarland
Via Wyoming New Exchange
RIVERTON — The Wyoming Democratic Party has announced will seek further action on 2018 voting incidents that the Fremont County Attorney’s Office determined to be legal.
State chairman Joe Barbuto said Tuesday that “the investigation by Fremont County Attorney Patrick J. LeBrun is not the end of the issue.” He also said “The Wyoming Democratic Party will work to ensure that voting issues experienced by Fremont County residents – particularly tribal voters – in 2018 do not repeat themselves in future elections.”
The May 15 request for investigation that the WDP sent to LeBrun’s office outlined two events, the latter of which occurred at a polling station in Ethete, where an election judge asked prospective voters to read the voters’ oath aloud upon registering. The plaint claimed that this practice was being used as a literacy test.
Conversely, in the wake of his interviews and research, LeBrun concluded that the oath reading was “...not in line with training, however it was not being used as a literacy test.”
Even with the possibility of an illegal literacy test having been dismissed, the WDP stated its further concern that “a voting process that exists because of the personal feelings of one election judge, outside of the official training provided, is an effective form of voter suppression” a party statement reads.
WDP communications director Nina Hebert said the party is referring its next steps to its attorney.
“We are reviewing what LeBrun sent over, with our attorney,” said Hebert. “We’ll formulate our next steps based on his recommendations, with of course input from the tribal people, which is who we consulted before all this.”
Hebert said she does not have a timeline for the party’s next steps, but that the Democrats will announce their course of action to the public soon.
Hebert also said Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan’s response to the incidents was underwhelming.
“When this news first broke, the Secretary of State came out and said this is politically motivated and the timing is suspicious,” she said. “The secretary had a conversation with Chair Barbuto at the time” of the incidents. “The secretary and the county attorney were both aware; they didn’t take any steps. We gave them ample time before we decided to alert the public. So now we’re hoping they’ll take this seriously.”
Hebert referred to Buchanan’s recent media-borne statement, in which he said “it is concerning that this complaint was never presented to this office or in a timely manner during the 2018 election cycle.”