Polling places consolidated as primary election field is finalized
EVANSTON — The filing period for the 2020 election season closed on Friday, May 29, and this year’s statewide and local races feature a slew of candidates, both incumbents and challengers. The election season will also feature changes to polling places in Uinta County, necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements issued by the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office.
Uinta County Clerk Amanda Hutchinson spoke at the meeting of the Uinta County Commissioners on Tuesday, June 2, and formally declared four polling places for election day voting throughout the county. There will be two polling locations in Evanston at the Machine Shop and Roundhouse and two in the Bridger Valley at the Lyman Town Hall and the Mountain View Senior Center.
Hutchinson said directives from the Secretary of State’s Office were to consolidate polling locations to ensure enough poll workers, as well as ample personal protective equipment, such as masks, for those poll workers. Hutchinson said locations need to be large enough to allow for social distancing of 6 feet between poll workers and those casting their ballots and also large enough to allow for lines inside the location rather than leaving people waiting outside in either the heat of August or the cold of November.
The consolidation of polling locations means the Uinta County Library in Evanston and the Bear River Town Hall will not be utilized for voting this year, and those voters will have to vote at either the Roundhouse or the Machine Shop. Similarly, in the Bridger Valley, Lyman voters will all vote at the Lyman Town Hall, while voters in the Mountain View area as well as the rural areas of the Bridger Valley will vote at the Mountain View Senior Center.
Hutchinson said notices will be mailed out to all voters whose polling location has changed this year. Due to the pandemic, Hutchinson said any voters in high-risk categories concerned about going in person to the polls have the option to request an absentee ballot through the mail, to vote early at the Uinta County Complex beginning on July 2 or to take advantage of curbside voting at the courthouse or the polling locations themselves.
According to Hutchinson, precautions are being taken due to COVID-19, including masks, gloves, sneeze guards, social distancing and separation, etc., for poll workers, and plans are being set in place well in advance since nobody really knows what the situation will be in August and especially in November.
As for who will be on the ballot, the race for outgoing Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi’s seat, who is not running for re-election this year, is a crowded field of 16 — 10 Republicans and six Democrats. Perhaps the most well-known candidate is former Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis, who served for eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2009-2017.
Other Republican candidates include Bryan Miller, Devon Cade, Donna Rice, John Holtz, Josh Wheeler, Michael Kemler, R. Mark Armstrong, Robert Short and Star Roselli. Interestingly, a mailing address for Cade is listed as Philadelphia while a mailing address for Roselli is listed in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate include Kenneth Casner, Merav Ben David, Nathan Wendt, Rex Wilde and Yana Ludwig. U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is up for re-election, facing off against fellow Republican Blake Stanley and Democrats Carl Beach, Carol Hafner and Lynnette Grey Bull.
In the Wyoming Senate, incumbent Republican Fred Baldwin of SD14 is being challenged by fellow Republicans Lyle Williams and Rex Rammell. In the Wyoming House of Representatives, incumbent Thomas Crank is facing challenges from Mike Lundgren of Kemmerer and Scott Heiner of Green River, all Republicans, in HD18.
In HD19, incumbent Danny Eyre is again facing a challenge from fellow Republican Karl Allred, and in HD49, current Rep. Garry Piiparinen opted not to run for re-election, leaving the seat open for the taking by candidates Joy Bell, Robert Wharff and Paul Barnard, who previously served in the Wyoming Legislature in SD15 and was unseated in 2018 by Wendy Schuler. The HD49 challengers are also all Republicans.
With long-time commissioner Craig Welling also choosing not to run for re-election, eight Republicans have filed for the one open seat on the Uinta County Commission. Charles Anderson, Jerry Carroll, Wendell Fraughton, Brent Hatch, Chris Katzl, Jesse Lind and Wade Lowry, all of Evanston, have entered the race along with S. Clark Anderson of Lonetree.
Three seats will be up for grabs on the Evanston City Council. In Ward 1, incumbent Tim Lynch will face hopefuls Mark Potter and Michael Searle; in Ward 2, incumbent Mike Sellers is being challenged by Jon Pentz; and incumbent Evan Perkes is running unchallenged in Ward 3.
Two candidates are vying for the position of Bear River Mayor being vacated by current Mayor Troy Nolan. John Dubois Sr., and Brian Stokes have filed for that position, while Todd Jones and Lance Norris are looking to fill the two open seats on the Bear River Town Council.
There are also two open seats on the Lyman Town Council, with two candidates filed — Shane Hooton and Eric Quinney. The position of Mountain View Town Mayor is up for election this year, with only incumbent Scott Dellinger filing. Tori Carter and Gina Tims are looking to fill the two open seats on the Mountain View Town Council.
The primary election polls will open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, and the general election polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The candidate filing period for general election candidates, such as school board trustees, runs from Aug. 5-25.