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Secretary of State to counties: Don’t use ballot drop boxes in November

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(The Center Square) – Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray has a message for county clerks: Do not use drop boxes in this year’s election.

In a letter to the state’s 23 county clerks, Gray wrote that he had rescinded directives from previous Secretary of State Ed Buchanan in 2020 that allowed for ballot drop boxes.

“Given the differing interpretations of my predecessors’ support for drop boxes, I want to be unequivocally clear: I do not believe drop boxes represent a safe, secure, or statutory basis for absentee voting,” Gray said in a statement. “For this reason, I believe they should not be used in the 2024 Election and beyond.”

Pointing to what he calls “the plain language” of the Wyoming Election Code that completed absentee ballots be mailed or delivered to the clerk, Gray said it does not allow for unattended ballot drop boxes as a means of delivering absentee ballots to the clerk.

“The strained interpretation only came about during the government’s response to COVID-19, and the directives authorizing them are no longer in effect,” said Gray, a Republican. “As Wyoming Secretary of State, I remain committed to preserving the integrity and confidence in Wyoming’s elections. I remain convinced that the use of unstaffed and unattended ballot drop boxes is not best for our state and lacks statutory authorization, and I am strongly opposed to their use.”

Wyoming Democratic Party Chair Joe Barbuto did not appear concerned in a statement to The Center Square.

“In Federal, state, county, and local elections, Wyoming Democrats have exceptional individuals running for office,” said Barbuto. “We understand and appreciate the amount of time, dedication, and effort that goes into these races – whether it’s for the U.S. Senate or town council – and look forward to providing the support and resources Democratic candidates need to be successful this November.”

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