Governor Gordon Agrees with Legislature’s Management Council in Disapproval of Secretary of State’s Proposed Voter Registration Rules; Secretary Chuck Gray Disappointed 

After determining that language in voter registration rules proposed by Secretary of State Chuck Gray exceeds his statutory authority, Governor Mark Gordon has not approved the proposed rule package. The Governor’s action follows the recommendation of the Wyoming Legislature’s Management Council.

“The State’s election code functions well, and the countless hours spent by volunteers, election judges, canvassing boards, county clerks, town clerks, your office, and numerous others have ensured for decades that Wyomingites can trust the state’s election results,” the Governor said. “While there may always be room to improve Wyoming’s election laws, this responsibility lies in the purview of the legislative branch.”

In a letter sent to the Secretary of State, the Governor emphasized that Wyoming’s elections are safe and secure, and that existing laws already offer remedies to address voter fraud. The Governor stated that Wyoming’s election code, “currently provides a comprehensive framework for how ‘bona fide residents’ can register to vote and how election officials can investigate or challenge their qualifications.”

The Governor’s letter states that while he agrees with the foundational principle that only United States citizens who are Wyoming residents should be voting in our elections, currently available data indicates that Wyoming does not have a significant problem with either fraudulent voter registrations, or the ability to investigate and verify voter qualifications.

The Governor further urged the legislature to provide clarity on the definition of the term “bona fide resident” and take the time to study the topic to ensure no eligible Wyoming voters are disenfranchised by any future changes. Wyoming’s county clerks have indicated in their public comment on these rules, as well as in past testimony to legislative committees, that this clarification is needed, and the Governor agrees.

“Until the legislature provides more explicit rulemaking authority for the Secretary of State, county clerks must follow the methods for investigating and challenging voters’ citizenship and registration outlined in statute,” the Governor wrote. “While I support addressing the county clerks’ concerns, assuming the worst when experience shows that our system continues to be effective at preventing voter fraud, does not support upending a decades long practice. We can always improve, and that discussion properly lies with the legislature”

The Governor’s letter to the Secretary of State may be found here.

Secretary Gray expressed his disappointment in the Governor’s veto. “Wyoming elections should be decided by Wyomingites, NOT illegal immigrants,” Secretary Gray said. “Governor Gordon’s veto makes it easier for illegal aliens and non-residents to illegally vote, which is deeply disturbing.”

“Wyoming statute not only allows for the rule, but actually calls for it. W.S. 22-1-102(a)(xxvii) expressly defines the registration process as requiring ‘verification of the name and voter information of a qualified elector.’ The rule provided for a process to verify an individual’s attestation that they are a resident of Wyoming. And it also fulfilled the statutory requirement that no person would be allowed to register to vote if their identification contains any indication that they are not a U.S. citizen.”

“I am especially troubled by the Governor’s adoption of the radical left’s argument that Wyoming has no real cases of voter fraud to address. As I indicated during our meeting with the Governor, our office has worked with county clerks on this very issue just last year, cancelling a registration of an illegal alien in Campbell County who illegally voted in the 2020 election. Every vote by an illegal alien disenfranchises the vote of Wyoming residents. These rules were a commonsense solution to stopping voter fraud in Wyoming.”

“These rules undertook a thorough vetting process, and received overwhelming support from the people of Wyoming during the public comment period. They should have been signed. I will continue to fight for election integrity measures to protect and improve our elections.”