Beyond results, election leaves plenty to be thankful for


If there’s one thing about last week’s election that we all can agree on, it may be the feeling of relief that it’s over.

Although the results won’t be officially certified until Wednesday, Wyoming’s 2018 general election is all but in the books.

And although it took a little bit longer to get final results in Montana, our northern neighbors have settled a contentious Senate race, choosing incumbent Jon Tester over Republican challenger Matt Rosendale and bringing a merciful end to the slew of attack ads that spilled over into local airwaves and computer screens.

But some other states aren’t so lucky. Officials in Florida, Georgia and Arizona are recounting several contentious races, complete with lawsuits, partisan bickering and glacial vote counts that seem to change from day to day.

Then there’s the case of Porter County, Indiana, whose election was plagued by so many problems that the FBI has been asked to investigate what went wrong. According to one election judge who took to Twitter to express her frustrations, Porter County officials’ errors included forgetting to provide ballots to her site, directing some voters to the wrong location and opening several polling places late — including one location where election workers were unable to get into a locked building.

All of the drama in other parts of the U.S. makes us thankful that we had a generally drama-free election in Park County and in Wyoming.

While our local elections didn’t go perfectly — specifically, there were a couple errors with Cody and Frannie-area absentee ballots — they were generally well-run and the process was transparent. It was also easy to vote: You won’t hear any horror stories of hours-long lines or of voters being turned away in Park County.

It’s one of the benefits of living in a small, tight-knit community. Beyond the short lines at the polls, you probably recognized the elections judges as your own friends and neighbors.

We appreciate those judges and the many others, from the Park County Clerk’s Office to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office, who work to ensure our state’s elections are fair and trustworthy.

We’re also grateful for the many people who stepped up to run for public office in Park County this year.

All told, more than 120 area residents put their names up for consideration this year in races that ranged from the Powell City Council to the Northwest College Board of Trustees to the Powell-Clarks Fork Conservation District board.

By and large, voters opted to stick with the incumbents this year, but we’re nonetheless thankful for all of the challengers and newcomers who took the time to get involved — including the handful of Democrats who vied for seats in the state Legislature this year, despite running in our very Republican county.

We continue to believe that competitive elections are vital for our democracy, even when our politicians and board members are doing a good job, and even when the odds are long. Nothing good comes of elections with little participation, so we’re encouraged by the candidates who ran and the thousands of local residents who showed up to vote.

We hope they and others are inspired to participate in the process again — because 2020 will be here before we know it.