By Kayne Pyatt
Uinta County resident Karl Allred has the distinction of serving as the interim secretary of state until Jan. 22, 2023, when the newly elected person will take office. The vacancy in the office was left when Ed Buchanan resigned as secretary of state on Sept. 17 to take a judicial position in Wyoming’s Eighth Judicial District.
According to state statute, since Buchanan was a Republican, the Wyoming Republican Party’s Central Committee chose three nominees from the list of Republicans who applied to fill the vacancy. Gov. Mark Gordon was given the names of the three nominees: Karl Allred, former gas plant foreman; Marti Halverson, a former lawmaker; and Bryan Miller, chairman of the Sheridan County Republican Party. Governor Gordon chose Karl Allred.
“I was pretty shocked,” Allred told the Herald in a phone interview. “I had the interview on Thursday and on Friday, my wife and I were out having dinner when my cell phone rang. I saw it was from the governor’s office and when I answered it, Gov. Gordon told me I was chosen for the position. I was shell shocked and my wife was pretty excited.”
Allred was sworn into the office as interim secretary of state on Monday, Oct. 3, and started his duties immediately. He said the staff he will be working with are very knowledgeable and his secretary is great and all are very helpful. Allred said his years of experience working for an international electronics company where he was responsible for operations and supervision of many employees will be a benefit to him in the job of secretary of state. He added that he has attended many legislative meetings and worked with representatives on bills so he is familiar with how the government operates.
Uinta County Commissioners were asked for their reaction to Allred’s appointment. Commissioner Mark Anderson said, “It is exciting to have a Uinta County resident be chosen by the governor for this role. I wish Mr. Allred all the luck.” Both Commissioners Eric South and Brent Hatch also wished Allred the best of luck and thanked him for serving as the interim secretary of state.
Duties of the secretary of state are clearly outlined in the Wyoming Election Code (Title 22, Chapter two, Section 121). “The secretary of state shall have the authority to issue directives to county election officers necessary to ensure the proper conduct of elections, including voter registration and elector participation when there is a declared natural disaster or other impending or declared emergency which interferes with an election.”
The secretary of state is also authorized to adopt rules and regulations when necessary to comply with either the Help America Vote Act of 2002 or the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act of 2009. Other duties include serving on commissions and panels including the State Loan and Investment Board.
“My first job at hand is to get through this election in November,” Allred said. “I want to work with the county clerks to ensure complete transparency in the election process. Then I want to help to make a smooth transition for the elected secretary of state in January. It looks like Chuck Gray will probably be elected; however, you never know what can happen. I’ve known him a long time and we have worked on some bills together so I think the transition will be smooth with him.”
When asked if he would have to resign from his position as state committeeman for the Uinta County Republican Party, Allred said he would not have to as there is a long history of elected officials serving in both positions and there seems to be nothing that would preclude his continuing in that position.
In a joint statement provided to the Herald, Republican State Representative Chuck Gray and Secretary of State Karl Allred discussed the upcoming months.
“I will work hard to bridge this period through the November election and help Chuck hit the ground running next year. I support Chuck 100%,” Allred said.
Gray said, “I look forward to working closely with Karl on a smooth transition and I appreciate his support.”
Allred said he has been involved in politics his entire life and will continue to be in some form even after his three months serving as secretary of state ends. Allred has been a candidate for different state offices since first running for Wyoming House of Representatives, District 19 in 2010. He ran for that same office again in 2018, 2020 and 2022. He was also a candidate for Wyoming Senate District 15 in 2014.
“I am looking forward to serving in this office. It is exciting and I hope I live up to the expectations of the job. It will be a joy to work with the governor and other top executives. I’ve had a good relationship with Gov. Gordon over the years and hope to continue that relationship,” Allred said. “When my three months are done as secretary of state, I will continue to be involved with the Republican party, work with the legislature, and at this point you never know what will happen.”