The number of absentee ballots requested for the November 3 General Election has already exceeded 5,500 according to Fremont County Clerk Julie Freese. She made the report on the Wind River Radio Network’s Let’s Talk Fremont program Friday morning.
Freese said the number of registered voters is also up and now totals just under 17,000 following more than 700 new voters signed up at the primary election last month.
The county clerk said interest is high, as it usually is in a presidential election year, but more so this year due to a number of locally contested races for the state legislature and county commission.
Freese said she has purchased three additional voting machines, two for Riverton and one for Lander to relieve bottlenecks that developed especially at the Riverton vote center. “We now will have five vote counting machines in Riverton and four in Lander,” she said.
Discussing election security concerns, Freese said any voter who returns an absentee ballot may confirm the ballot’s arrival at the election office by calling the clerk’s office. She also noted that none of the vote counting machines are connected to the Internet and that the paper ballots run through the counting machines serve as a backup. A secured ballot drop-box is located on the back side of the courthouse, that is monitored day and night with ballots collected each day.
Early voting at the courthouse in Lander will begin on Monday. Freese said she had hoped to get the Riverton County Clerk’s Annex opened, but she said that will now not happen until probably next year due to staffing considerations.