Suspicion grows around electronic voting methods 

By Stephanie Wilson 
Posted 3/6/24

WHEATLAND — Platte County Republican Party representatives came before the commissioners recently with a resolution that would require the attendance of the county commissioners and county …

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Suspicion grows around electronic voting methods 


WHEATLAND — Platte County Republican Party representatives came before the commissioners recently with a resolution that would require the attendance of the county commissioners and county clerk to a workshop intended to educate those closely involved in election processes regarding the use of voting machines. 

The resolution was voted on and agreed-to unanimously within the Platte County Republican Party according to Chloe Butler, who cited Article 6 Section 13 of the Wyoming Constitution which makes it clear the state requires the purity of elections and guarding them by preventative or proactive actions against the abuses of the elective franchise due to contractual limitations on election machine inspection and inherent vulnerability of every electronic device. 

Members of the Republican Party attending the meeting stated strong concerns have been brought by voters in Platte County, and there is really no way to truly verify votes are being recorded and transmitted by the machines exactly as the vote is cast without full and counted audits every time. 

“Current research and news reports could lead to the conclusion that serious vulnerabilities exist and have been exploited in our nation’s and in our state’s electronic voting systems,” Chloe Butler said. “We generally trust the office of the County Clerk and election judges far more than many influential entities outside the county.” 

Butler also cited State Statute 22-11-102 which states the board of county commissioners of each county may adopt either experimentally or permanently in any election, in any or all polling places within county, electronic voting systems authorized by law. 

“This clearly indicates that alternative voting systems may be used as the board has expressed a strong commitment to protecting absolute voting purity. Election integrity is a foundational standard for the American government, not just as a nation, but down to the local levels,” he said. 

The resolution presented was an invitation to the commissioners to commit to attending a workshop provided by the Platte County Republican Party for hands-on experience with non-machine voting systems, and to address questions and concerns regarding those options. The workshop is specifically dedicated to educating the commissioners and county clerk about other voting methods at a mutually agreed-upon time and date. 

“We want to dispel misconceptions about the options,” Jill Hoffman, Republican Party member explained. “This will be very hands-on, and we will get to experience more than one option. This is in the forefront of a lot of news. This is an educational opportunity and request your approval to join us.” 

Commissioner chair Steve Shockley replied that all his own research has shown that hand counting is less accurate than machine counting. 

“I have spent a lot of time looking at this. Everything I find about timeliness and accuracy is that we know we get results quickly and accurately with a machine count, and what I find on hand count if it’s 95% accurate that’s really good,” he said. “I also found that the machine counts are 98-99% accurate.” When it was brought up that that only reflected a few percentage points, Shockley said, “I’m talking about a few votes. I’m talking about a hand count that would pick out five people and the machine take would take out one or two people.” 

One major concern is the threat of an outside influence interfering with an entire state or county’s worth of votes; such as malicious programming of the actual machine by an tech engineer. 

The purpose of the workshop would be to inform the commissioners and clerk about timing issues; how many people would be needed, as well as what the precautions are against human error. 

Shockley referenced an article in hand that focused on a county that did a hand count. “This is not something off the internet, it’s a real occurrence. The county said if they counted all 105,000 ballots by hand, they estimated it would take 657 eight-hour days.” 

The Republican Party members assured Shockley the education of the workshop would reveal different results than what the county in question reported, also saying the person who will help conduct the workshop (who is from Missouri) has been very involved in the alternate methods of counting ballots and the whole point of the workshop is to provide hands-on experience that shows it is possible to hit timeframes and deadlines; and see the method in action. 

“I think there are definitely security issues in our elections,” Shockley added, “but I’m not sure it’s the equipment that we’re using that is the biggest security risk. And I’m not sure we need a resolution to attend a training session.” 

The commissioners were assured that time and place would be specifically tailored to accommodate the commissioners’ schedules so that there is no interference with their ability to participate. Shockley also asked if any of the Republican Party members had attended county canvases, reminding those present that they were always open to the public. 

“I think it would be good to attend, and we appreciate the effort you have gone to; you have obviously spent a lot of time looking at election details,” Commissioner Ian Jolovich said. “It’s a good idea for me personally, but I agree that we probably don’t need a resolution about attending the workshop.” 

Shockley agreed. 

Hoffman reiterated the Republican Party was merely looking for a commitment to attend. 

“We do have helpers coming in from out of state, and of course we want it to be flexible.” 

Jolovich suggested that a couple of options about date and time could be offered so that a date that is compatible for all could be found. “We will work around your needs,” Hoffman said. “The gal we are working with is coming from Missouri. The workshop will be about an hour, then time for questions and answers afterwards. You will be able to see tabulating methods and how that is done. She also wants to teach other counties in Wyoming this aspect of hand-counting. We really want to eliminate as much opportunity for fraud and manipulation prior to the election.” 

Commissioner Kayla Mantle agreed she was also willing to attend the workshop. 

“I’ll admit I’m a little less likely to trust humans right now,” she said. 

Hoffman thought that the workshop could help clarify any misconceptions. 

“We are part of a team working together. It’s not ‘us against them’ or ‘you against me’, we are in this together,” Hoffman said. 

Republican party member Doug Brickman said overall, the party unanimously trusted County Clerk Malcolm Ervin and his staff. “Malcolm is well-known and respected throughout the state,” Brickman said. “But Platte County has an opportunity to lead this movement; I think it’s a movement to put further trust into our election system.” 

Shockley acknowledged there was room for improvement during elections, and Jolovich agreed to attending the workshop. 

“We will work it out. I respect what you are doing. It’s a lot of time and legwork,” Jolovich said. “I appreciate the effort.” 

Hoffman agreed to coming up with a time frame and some options for a workshop in March. Shockley and Mantle both agreed a resolution was not needed to simply agree to attend a workshop. 

“You will have to trust that when we say we will be there, we will be there,” added Jolovich.