EVANSTON — Uinta County residents came out in droves for Tuesday’s election, with likely more than 1,000 new voters registering on Election Day to cast their votes for the next president of the United States. Uinta County Clerk Amanda Hutchinson said she believes voter turnout was at an all-time high for the county.
“I believe the 2020 General Election was a record breaker for us, as far as voter turnout, and that is certainly the case since 2004,” Hutchinson told the Herald Wednesday.
Hutchinson is correct; this year’s turnout of 9,457 is the most since at least 1976, before the 1980s boom that grew the population for several years. Of the 9,457 votes, 3,937 were absentee or early votes. Hutchinson's office, which oversees all local elections, reported 5,520 election-day votes.
“Things really did go very well,” Hutchinson said. “We had an amazing turnout. I hope all these voters come out in 2022.” But she wasn’t surprised by the large turnout, she said, based on the primary turnout.
Lines were longer than usual, but not exceedingly so. Hutchinson gave kudos to the dozens of election judges who risked their health on Tuesday.
“A huge shout out and thank you to our election judges who were willing to help during the pandemic,” she said.
She said she believes the heated presidential election was the main driver in turnout.
“We had a lot of people coming to vote hyped up over the presidential election,” she said, adding that poll workers had to stop some of the hype to adhere to election laws.
This year’s turnout eclipses the last four presidential elections by about 1,000. About 8,400 residents cast votes in 2004, and that number stayed steady in 2008. In 2012, 8,576 votes were cast in Uinta County, and in 2016 there were 8570 votes counted.
Turnout was so high in this election, in fact, that it exceeded 100% turnout due to election-day registration allowed in the Cowboy State. Just prior to the election, there were 8,590 registered voters in the county. The record-breaking turnout of 9,457 puts total voter turnout at 110%.
Leading up to the election, local school district officials held several meetings and open houses where they told community members it’s overdue to give local students what nearly every other high school in Wyoming has — an indoor practice facility. But residents who live within the boundaries of Uinta County School District No. 1 overwhelmingly rejected the idea of a fieldhouse at Evanston High School — or at least the idea of them paying for it. Out of 5,856 votes cast, those against the ballot proposition totaled 4,008, while those in favor totaled 1,848. The bond would have been for about $23 million.
With Uinta County Commissioner Craig Welling not running for re-election, we’ll see a new face in the commissioners’ chambers in January. Republican Brent Hatch tallied 6,275 votes, while Democrat Sheila McGuire, who works for the Uinta County Herald as a reporter, received support from 1,943 county residents. McGuire ran a late campaign after receiving enough write-in votes in the August Primary Election to qualify for the General Election.
The Evanston City Council will remain the same, as all three incumbents retained their seats. Tim Lynch earned another four years on the Evanston City Council after beating challenger Michael Searle, 908 to 657 in Ward 1. The same goes for Michael Sellers, who beat Jon Pentz again in Ward 2. The two faced off in the August primary, but since municipal races are nonpartisan and top two vote getters move on to the General Election, the two held a rematch of sorts this week. Sellers received 1,196 votes to Pentz’s 536.
Evan Perkes, who ran unopposed for his seat in Ward 3, received 1,006 votes to remain on the council.
The Uinta County School Board No. 1 Board of Trustees race saw seven candidates compete for four positions. Incumbents Jami Brackin and David Peterson will remain on the school board after receiving 3,001 and 2,737 votes, respectively. New to the board will be Dan Wheeler, who tallied 2,620 votes, and Joel Wiedrich, who received 1,748.
Uinta County stayed true to its deep red roots, with Pres. Donald Trump receiving nearly 80% of votes cast in his re-election bid. Former Vice President Joe Biden earned only 1,591 votes to Trump’s 7,495. Third-party candidates received little support Tuesday. Libertarian Jo Jorgensen received 172 votes, and Independent Brock Pierce finished with just 79 from local voters.
Statewide, Trump defeated Biden badly and swiftly, with news organizations calling the Wyoming race shortly after polls closed. The president received 193,454 votes to Biden’s 73,445 from Wyomingites.
Congressional races brought more of the same. Former Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis will be Wyoming’s first female senator after easily defeating Democratic opponent Merav Ben-David. County residents gave Lummis 7,548 votes, and Ben-David — the only candidate for federal office to visit Evanston before the election — received 1,597. Lummis nearly tripled Ben-David in votes statewide, receiving 197,961 votes to Ben-David’s 72,720.
In the lower chamber, incumbent Republican Rep. Liz Cheney easily won re-election after earning 185,602 votes statewide to Democratic opponent Lynnette Grey Bull’s 66,539. In Uinta County, voters also much preferred Cheney by a margin of 6,779 to 1,521. Third-party candidates didn’t fare well in that race, though locally, Mountain View’s Jeff Haggit of the Constitution Party received 522 votes. Libertarian Richard Brubaker finished with 269 local votes.
State Sen. Fred Baldwin, R-Kemmerer, received 960 votes from Uinta County residents in Senate District 14. He ran unopposed and will keep his seat in the state legislature. Same goes for Lyman Republican incumbent Danny Eyre (HD-19) after he received 3,915 votes in an uncontested race. Scott Heiner, R-Green River, also won an uncontested election by receiving 698 votes for Wyoming House District 18. Evanston Republican Robert Wharff also benefited from an uncontested race. He’ll be the new representative for HD-49 after receiving 3,267 votes in Tuesday’s election.
Outside of Evanston, current Bear River Town Councilman Brian Stokes was elected the town’s next mayor. He’ll replace two-term Mayor Troy Nolan, who did not run for re-election. Stokes was unopposed in his bid and received 245 out of 261 votes cast.
With two open seats on the council and three candidates, the Bear River Town Council will also see a new face. Vernon Condie, who received enough write-in votes in the primary to make it on the Nov. 3 ballot. He received 134 votes to win one of the available seats, and incumbent Lance Norris received 163 votes to remain on the council. Challenger Todd Jones came in a close third with 112 votes.
Shane Hooten will remain on the Lyman Town Council and he’ll be joined by Eric Quinney in January. The two ran unopposed for two open seats. Hooten received 724 votes, and Quinney received 569.
Mountain View will have a new mayor beginning next year after Bryan Ayres beat incumbent Mayor Scott Dellinger handily. Ayres received 424 votes to Dellinger’s 163. On the Mountain View Town Council, where three candidates vied for two seats, incumbent Tori Carter led the field with 357 votes. Jenny Harvey will replace Gina Tims on the council after tallying 345 votes to Tims’ 270.
Uinta County School District No. 4 school board saw five candidates running for three seats. The three winners are Brian Tims, with 852 votes; Aaron Rudy with 832; and Charlotte Black with 712. They beat out Laura Jorgensen and Chantel Collins, who received 690 and 628 votes, respectively.
Three candidates ran to fill three seats on the Uinta County School District. No. 6 Board of Trustees, so all will remain on or join the board. Nathan Heaton received 1,184 votes; Sherri Bluemel received 1,134; and E. Sue Dunn received 1,063.
Also in the valley, Proposition 1 passed. It will provide an additional 1/2 mill for “maintenance of post-secondary education through BOCES at the Valley Learning Center. Voters approved the tax with 1,980 votes in favor and 1,060 against.
Statewide voters differed from local residents when it came to Constitutional Amendment A, which would remove the municipal debt limit imposed on sewer projects; it passed statewide but voters in Uinta County opposed it with 4,535 votes versus 3,854 votes against the amendment. Voters across the state approved the measure, 126,486 compared to 120,743 votes against.