Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Ready, set, vote

“Vote early and often,” a phrase originally attributed to Al Capone, is a phrase joked about every time an election rolls around.

When President Donald Trump made a comment about making sure your absentee vote has been counted and if not then go to the polls to vote people perceived that to mean he was encouraging them to “vote early and often.” I don’t believe that was the case. I believe he was telling voters to make sure their vote is counted this election.

A visit with Washakie County’s election officer, Clerk Mary Grace Strauch shows that there is a system in place for you to make sure your absentee vote has arrived at the clerk’s office (if you mail it in). Each absentee ballot is placed in an envelope with the voters name, physical address, precinct number and a bar code assigned to that voter.

Strauch explained that when a ballot is returned in the envelope, and even if it is returned in person it must be in the envelope as that is where you sign it, then the bar code is scanned and the system shows that you voted in this election. Which means that you cannot go to the polls on Nov. 3 and vote again. The voter rolls will have the bar codes beside each registered voter and it is marked if there has been a ballot returned already.

I joked with Mary Grace and said with that system “I can’t vote early and often.” She replied, “No, just early.”

She also noted that each absentee ballot was an official election ballot seal. With that seal, the Worland Post Office has not been sending ballots to Casper, but rather processing them at the Worland Post Office and mailing them directly from Worland.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wyoming reported that the Department of Justice have people assigned to respond to any reports of alleged voter fraud.

You don’t hear about missing ballots or voter fraud in Wyoming. There have never been any hanging chads in Wyoming’s ballots. We seem to know how to do things right.

Do we have our election issues? Absolutely. In my 30 years in journalism I have covered a lot of elections. I have covered one election where the loser demanded a recount, paying for the recount himself. I covered another election where there was disputes about whose name was on the ballot first (with some study showing voters are more likely to cast a vote for the person at the top of a list of candidates).

As I have written before if you have not voted I encourage you to vote in this election, whether it be absentee or in person at the polls on Nov. 3.

Voters are deciding on the next mayor in Worland, the next representative for Senate District 20 and the next president of the United States. These are leaders that will make decisions that can and likely will impact your life.

Voting is your way of having a say in who will lead us for the next four years.

This is my last chance to encourage you to be an informed voter. We complete our series of candidate profiles this week in the Northern Wyoming News with presidential profiles and U.S. House and Senate candidate profiles.

We also have information on the judges who are up for retention. In previous issues we have profiled candidates for Ten Sleep and Worland school boards, Worland mayor, Worland council and state legislators.

We also ran a story highlighting pros and cons for the Constitutional amendment on the ballot.

These stories are available on our website or you can stop by and purchase copies of the issues.

There is also a candidate forum for the non-partisan races next Thursday, Oct. 29.

Be an informed voter, don’t vote for a candidate because the person’s name is familiar. Don’t vote for a candidate just because the name is at the top of the list. Don’t cast a vote just because some celebrity has threatened to move if a certain candidate wins (they always threaten, they rarely follow through).

Don’t vote because some polls tell you someone is ahead or behind.

Vote because you believe the person you are voting for is the right person for the job.

And almost as important, come Nov. 4, accept the results. Don’t cry and yell. Accept the results as the “will of the people.”

Trust the person elected will serve for the betterment of the people and if not, be ready to vote again in two or four years.

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