Initially told by the Secretary of State’s Office election dates couldn’t be moved, a second directive admits the state has no say when the town of Pinedale can conduct elections.
With that conflicting advice, the Town of Pinedale’s council will consider at the April 27 meeting if the looming May 5 election will be moved back to June 2.
The traditional date, the first Tuesday in May following the first Monday, is established by Pinedale’s charter or- dinance as the date for municipal elections. However, it is not clear if the date can be moved to encourage social dis- tancing.
In a letter from Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, conduct- ing the elections May 5 despite directives from the President of the United States and Gov. Mark Gordon could put both staff and volunteers at risk. With voters at numbers greater than the threshold the CDC recommends, staff could be ex- posed, as well as all the voters they subsequently come into contact with.
“Unfortunately, my authority to ensure the safe conduct of Wyoming elections during an emergency is limited to issuing directives to county election officials,” Buchanan wrote. “Therefore, it appears that I cannot use my directive authority to order towns to move their election dates.”
Instead he chose to use his directive authority to ensure county elections officials, who would hear any complaints of Election Code violations, to dismiss complaints.
“This includes, but may not be limited to moving the date of the May 2020 town election to ensure the town has time to implement procedures to protect voters.”
Based on that directive, Town Clerk Maureen Rudnick responded in an email that consideration for moving the date is on the next agenda for council members. However, Rudnick added, she is not sure the council is inclined to move the elections.
Voters are encouraged to request absentee ballots by using the form on the town’s website, calling Town Hall at 307-367-4136 or emailing the town clerk at maureenrud- [email protected]
On the ballot are two four-year council seats. Incumbents Tyler Swafford and Judi Boyce are the only candidates who applied for the seats. However, there is always the possibil- ity of a write-in candidate.
Two candidates will be on the ballot for a two-year term, Isaac Best and Melissa Ryckman.