GOSHEN COUNTY – Roughly triple the number of Goshen County residents voted early or via absentee ballot in this year’s primaries than did four years ago, according to Goshen County Clerk Cindy Kenyon.
Just 509 residents used these methods during the 2016 primary election, while over 1,500 did in 2020. Kenyon is prepared for a similar showing in the upcoming November election as well.
In 2016, a total of 1,783 residents either voted early or submitted an absentee ballot for the general election. Already, nearly 1,700 residents have requested an absentee ballot with still a little less than two months until Election Day, which can be attributed to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Early voting starts Sept. 18 in the County Clerk’s Office.
“I expect half of our voters are going to vote early or by mail,” Kenyon said.
The Goshen County Clerk’s Office works with the Post Office during every election, Kenyon said, but the influx of residents who will opt to cast their ballots at home and send them through the mail will require more coordination and planning ahead by voters.
The USPS is sending an Election Postcard to voters in all 50 states, advising them to request mail-in ballots at least 15 days prior to Election Day and to mail their ballots at least seven days before Nov. 3.
Kenyon said she and other County Clerks were made aware of the mailer and its purpose to ensure people can vote in the 2020 election despite unprecedented circumstances presented by the pandemic.
“The Post Office is trying their best to make sure those ballots are delivered in a timely fashion,” she said.
When asked for comment, Torrington Postmaster General Curtis J. Shields directed The Telegram to USPS Western Strategic Communications Representative James Boxrud.
“The intention of the mailer was to send a single set of recommendations that provided general guidance allowing voters who choose mail-in voting to do so successfully, regardless of where they live and where they vote,” Boxrud wrote in an email to The Telegram.
According to Kenyon, the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office allotted extra time for processing absentee ballots in this year’s primary election. With just three people on the county’s counting board, such an extension was necessary.
“I am very hopeful the Secretary of State’s office will issue a directive allowing the extra time again,” she said.
Boxrud said USPS is committed to delivering Election Mail in a timely fashion by employing “a robust and proven process to ensure proper handling of all Election Mail, including ballots.
“This includes close coordination and partnerships with election officials at the local and state levels,” he said. “As we anticipate that many voters may choose to use the mail to participate in the upcoming elections due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are conducting and will continue to proactively conduct outreach with state and local election officials and Secretaries of State so that they can make informed decisions and educate the public about what they can expect when using the mail to vote.”
Despite the volume of residents voting by mail, the county still needs poll workers, Kenyon said.
“During COVID, there are a lot of demands on the poll workers for cleaning and social distancing,” she said. “And those types of measures make your trip through the polling place a bit slower.”
Those interested in becoming a poll worker can contact the County Clerk’s Office at 532-4051.
Kenyon said she expects a high voter turnout, both in person on election day and through early voting measures. Goshen County usually sees a 90% voter turnout for presidential elections. Absentee ballot requests and voting information can be found on the County Clerk’s website, goshencounty.org.
“Goshen County voters are wonderful,” Kenyon said. “They really do get out and vote.”