Survey: Confidence high in Wyoming elections


TORRINGTON – Wyoming voters are confident in the reliability of the elections process in the state and prefer casting their votes in person.

That’s the overall result of a state-wide, online voter survey completed recently by the County Clerks Association of Wyoming, in conjunction with the state’s Plan for Aging Voting Equipment committee.

The survey polled residents on how they’ve voted in the past and how they’d prefer to vote in the future. The state’s PAVE committee will use the data as it deliberates on expenditures and methods to replace or upgrade voting equipment in the 23 Wyoming counties.

Historically, Wyoming voters said they usually go to the polls in elections by a more than three-to-one margin, with 745 making the trip to the ballot box against 202 who vote absentee. Goshen County voters prefer to cast their votes in person by an almost eight-to-one margin, 94 respondents to 12.

The survey garnered 1098 responses from across the state, with 1060 of those coming from among the state’s 262,594 registered voters, Goshen County Clerk Cindy Kenyon said. While the number may be small, it’s still a “statistically-significant” sample of voters across the state, with a potential for error of plus-or-minus 4 percent, she said.

“I had the same idea – what does this mean?” Kenyon said. “But, when you research statistics on sample sizes, this is a healthy sample size.”

From among Goshen County’s 5,979 registered voters, 118 people responded to the survey, representing an error factor of plus-or-minus 8 percent. Kenyon said the local response was good.

“I was excited to see we had so many responses from Goshen County,” she said. “We had the second-highest number of responses in the state.”

Only Park County, with 133 taking the voluntary survey, had more of its residents respond, she said. Complete results of the survey can be found on the Goshen County website at goshencounty.org under the “County Clerk and
Elections” tab.

As the PAVE committee begins its work, the survey asked how voters would prefer to vote in the future, with selections from multiple options including voting centers, standard precinct voting, vote-by-mail, early voting and traditional absentee ballots. Respondents were allowed to make multiple selections in the survey.

Voting centers – locations where anyone registered in a specific county could cast their ballot – topped the list with 388 affirmative votes, followed by standard precinct voting. Mail balloting was favored by 335 of the respondents, followed by absentee voting with 308, early voting with 284 and a combined precinct system
with 198.

Only 172 respondents said they’d prefer using some type of direct-record voting system, a touch-screen voting machine which records votes electronically. 

“Statewide, the numbers indicate what method of voting residents have confidence in,” Kenyon said. “They have confidence in the way the state handles elections now and confidence in other areas.”

Topping the list of concerns, both locally and at the state level, is election security. Kenyon said there’s never been any proven instances of election fraud in Goshen County. And, despite pundit’s repeated claims to the contrary, a recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law found most reported incidents of voter fraud were actually traceable to clerical errors or bad data matching, with incident rates between 0.0003 percent and 0.0025 percent.

In other words, it’s more likely an American “Will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls,” the report stated. A similar study at Columbia University found voter fraud claims were most often traced to “false claims by the loser of a close race, mischief and administrative or
voter error.”

Nevertheless, election security remains a consideration as the PAVE committee moves forward. A preface to the study noted current voter equipment in Wyoming is “still functioning because of diligent care and maintenance” by county clerks, like Kenyon, across the state. But it’s nearing the end of its useful lifespan.

“The (PAVE) task force is looking at all the ideas for the future,” Kenyon said. “The survey results will help them narrow the choices down to what residents want. (PAVE) will use this to address how to identify, fund and acquire new voting equipment.”

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