Issued in the manner of a typical post-election report, the results of the Aug. 16 primary election were declared official last week by the Park County Elections Department after review by the …
Issued in the manner of a typical post-election report, the results of the Aug. 16 primary election were declared official last week by the Park County Elections Department after review by the statutory county canvassing board. The state canvassing board, comprised of Wyoming’s top elected officials, similarly certified state primary election results.
The significance in the canvassing board report was the certification of county election tabulations “with no changes” from the unofficial results announced on primary election night. That finding is usually no big deal. It’s expected.
But in the atmosphere of 2022 and the questioning in some quarters of the integrity of elections — particularly with machine voting — the Park County canvass report is noteworthy. In March of 2022, the Park County Republican Central Committee had gone on record in a resolution calling for an observable hand count of ballots to take precedence over machine-compiled tallies.
The resolution in the party’s March meeting carries no legal weight, but it does register the official opinion of the party central committee at the time.
In a follow-up to the GOP central committee expression that observable hand counts would instill confidence in elections, a delegation approached the Park County Commissioners in April and asked that it be allowed to audit the primary election machine tabulation with a side-by-side hand count. Secretary of State Ed Buchanan weighed in that state law doesn’t give the commissioners the power to authorize a hand count, suggesting the matter is really a policy decision that must be made by the Legislature.
That was the prelude to the August primary elections in Park County and Wyoming.
And what were the biggest takeaways? The Park County Elections Department certification report deserves a second look.
The contention that some people in Park County wouldn’t vote because of the distrust of voting machines was completely blown away. Park County shattered the previous primary election voter turnout to set a new primary election total of 12,366 ballots cast. That was roughly 2,800 votes more than the previous record primary of 9,560 voters in the non-presidential year of 2010.
There is more. Voting machines were also audited for their performance.
Scanned images of some 75 ballots cast in Park County were reviewed by the elections office, with canvassing board as witnesses, to verify that the voting machines accurately counted the marks made on the ballots by voters. A total of 450 races were randomly sampled to determine that the election machine software accurately counted the marks as they were made by voters.
All tests passed with 100% accuracy.
This perhaps won’t be enough to satisfy all who have had a lack of confidence in the fairness of machine voting. But where fairness is really examined, it is affirmation that can’t be denied.