ACLU of Wyoming Supports Ballot Drop Boxes as Secretary of State Wants Them Removed
The ACLU of Wyoming wants county clerks in Wyoming to continue to use absentee ballot drop boxes while Interim Secretary of State Karl Allred sent out a letter requesting they be removed.
Wyoming currently has drop boxes in seven counties, Albany, Big Horn, Converse, Fremont, Laramie, Sweetwater, and Teton.
In his letter, Allred said that he interprets Wyoming Statute 22-9-113, which states that "The ballot shall then be sealed in the inner ballot envelope and mailed or delivered to the clerk," to not include drop boxes.
While Allred says in his letter that there haven't been any issues with the drop boxes before, he still thinks there's the "potential for abuse or destruction of ballots through use of fire or other means."
Allred said in the letter that if drop boxes are used in this election, they should be "under 24hr surveillance and the ballots are retrieved at the end of each day by a bipartisan team of staff or election judges whenever possible, and the date, time, and number of ballots recorded appropriately in your chain of custody logs."
Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming’s advocacy director, said in a release:
"Absentee voting is a safe, secure, and effective way for Wyomingites to vote. Drop boxes have proven to be an accessible, secure, and easy way for voters across the country and here in Wyoming to cast their ballots, and they have been widely used by people of all backgrounds and political affiliations without issue," Serrano said. "Discontinuing the use of absentee ballot drop boxes now would create disruption for voters and would result in even greater disenfranchisement of eligible voters in our state. Absentee ballot drop boxes in convenient places allow voters to securely cast their ballots at a time of their convenience – especially important for rural voters who have to travel long distances to vote. Our elected officials should be doing everything they can to encourage people to vote – not trying to suppress people’s ability to vote."
Allred said that since sending the letter, he's heard back from a couple of county clerks, and they've said that they want to keep the drop boxes.
While Allred said that while he has some concerns about what happened in the 2020 election, nothing that happened then influenced why he is against drop boxes now and he is just worried about the potential issues that could arise.
"There's a potential for damage to the ballots, and I'd hate to see that happen," Allred said. "What are you gonna do if they got a box that has a bunch of ballots in it and there's something done to it that damages the ballots, you can't read them, you can't count them. It's just a matter of, 'hey, if there's a potential, why not, why not stop it before it happens, before we have a problem.' It doesn't mean there's gonna be a problem. You look out for things and you try and stop things before they could happen."
Absentee ballots and drop boxes have been an issue brought up since the 2020 election due to a belief that they have been the source of a large amount of fraud and explain why former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.
Despite there being no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, that hasn't stopped someone like Dinesh D'Souza from putting out the movie "2,000 Mules," which claimed that drop boxes were used by people hired by non-profits to submit false ballots and tip the election against Trump.
While the claims made in the movie aren't true, that didn't stop Secretary of State candidate Chuck Gray, who is currently running unopposed, from showing screenings of the film across the state over the summer.