Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

The News Editorial: Be informed and be sure to vote

Tuesday voters head to the polls to decide party nominations for several important races locally and statewide.

Perhaps the most interesting and most important races locally in this primary are the Republican bid for U.S. Senate and State Senate District 20.

Cynthia Lummis, who has served Wyoming in a multitude of positions is seeking to head back to Washington, D.C., after retiring in 2016 from the U.S. House. Probably her top challenger is Converse County Commissioner Robert Short but Deborah Rice has been a familiar face in the Big Horn Basin on the campaign trail.

When Lummis announced she was probably thought to be the shoo-in on name recognition alone but looking at political signs around here, Short will be giving her a close run. Short and Rice appeared in person at last week’s meet the candidates night sponsored by the Worland Business and Professional Women’s Organization. Both had strong support. It will be an interesting race.

There are also six Democratic candidates but it’s hard to know for sure who that party’s front runner is, but if you go by sheer emails to the press it would be Yana Ludwig of Laramie or Nathan Wendt of Jackson.

For U.S. House the Republican nomination race is a non-race with Liz Cheney appearing to be a shoo-in over challenger Blake Stanley who has not mounted any sort of campaign against the incumbent.

There are three Democrats for the U.S. House with two from Wyoming Carl Beach of Saratoga and Lynnette Grey Bull of Fort Washakie. Beach has been the most active in campaigning and has frequented the Big Horn Basin in his efforts to win that party’s nomination.

The most interesting local race is for State Senate District 20. The district encompasses all or parts of five counties. Theresa Livingston of Worland is unopposed for the Democratic party nomination. She will have to wait to see who her general election opponent will be with three Republicans running strong campaigns — Ed Cooper of Ten Sleep, Linda Weeks of Basin and Roland Luehne of Thermopolis. Each of the candidates would bring different strengths to the position. May the best candidate win.

All the Worland council candidates will advance to the general election with there not being enough candidates to have any eliminated from the non-party race. Write-ins could fill out the ballot for the general election. There is an open seat in Ward 3 with no candidates filed for the four-year term. It does not take many write-in votes to qualify so if you are interested, or know of someone who may be interested, get at least two other voting friends to write them in. (You need three to qualify for a write-in nomination.)

While we have profiled candidates over the past several weeks in the Northern Wyoming News, and you can see those profiles at starting Thursday, what you will not see the Northern Wyoming News do is endorse a candidate.

There are several thoughts about whether a newspaper should or should not endorse a candidate. Throughout my career I have always leaned toward the idea that a newspaper should inform its readers about the candidates and let them decide who they believe will best represent them on the council, commission board, state legislator or Congress.

We do not see our role here as one of telling readers who we believe they should vote for and why. We seek only to inform.

Another reason not to endorse a candidate is the perception of a bias against that candidate and the possibility of the endorsement of the opposing candidate hindering the newspaper’s ability to work with the winning candidate in the future.

If we were to endorse Candidate A for mayor but Candidate B were to win the public would know we favored the other candidate and every article we published would be scrutinized and there would be the perception that our stories had a slant or a bias, whether true or not.

So we encourage our readers, if you have not voted, to take the time to be an informed voter; learn as much as you can about the candidates and cast your vote on Tuesday.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, at the Worland Community Center and Ten Sleep Fire Hall.

There is also time to obtain an absentee ballot and vote that way, without having to go to the polls.

And just a quick thought on absentee voting — it is not the same as mail-in voting.

In a recent opinion piece, Frank Eathorne, Wyoming GOP chairman, explained the difference simply.

“Absentee ballots are given to those who request them. Each absentee ballot has a specific identification permanently attached. In Wyoming absentee ballots are available to any registered voter for any election within the calendar year in which the election is held but not on the day of the election.”

Absentee ballots must be returned to the county clerk’s office by the day of the election.

In contrast, “In states where vote by mail is their primary voting method, ballots are sent to all voters on the voter registration list (whether requested or not). Although consideration may be given to the fact that voters move from addresses or voters pass away, little can be done to ensure those submitting the ballot are actually the individual who registered to vote. When ballots are delivered to the appropriate individual, returning the ballot becomes the challenge. In most mail-in ballot states, ballots can be dropped off at a ballot collection location.”

Wyoming allows for absentee ballot voting, not mail-in.

We hope on Tuesday, or before, you exercise the right that every U.S. citizen age 18 or older has, and that is to vote.

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