The 2020 primary election on Tuesday is number one when it comes to an election with unparalleled circumstances.

"We've been presented with a lot of challenges this year, a lot of challenges," Natrona County Clerk Tracy Good said Monday.

"It keeps things interesting, to say the least," said Good, whose office handles elections.

For Good, who has worked in the office for two decades and was elected clerk two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected polling locations, the work load of her staff, and the unknown of how voters will respond.

"We're just trying to get everyone processed and get people through as quickly and efficiently and safely as possible," Good said. "We still want to make it a pleasant experience as best we can."

Tracy Good. Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

She had to hire two temporary workers to assist elections officer Leticia Drake because of the influence of absentee ballots, she said.

Absentee, or mail-in, voting has been way up this year, probably because of the restrictions about the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Wyoming Secretary of State's Office sending absentee voting requests to every registered in the state, she said.

The County Clerk's Office received 8,377 requests for absentee ballots. As of Monday morning, slightly more than 5,000 had been returned, Good said. There are 27,211 registered voters in Natrona County -- 19,601 Republican, 4,476 Democrats, and the remainder are unaffiliated or registered with other parties.

She anticipated many of the approximately 3,300 outstanding ballots will be returned in the mail today and Tuesday. They must be in by the time the polls close at 7 p.m.

By way of comparison, the Clerk's Office received 3,521 absentee ballots in the 2018 primary Good said.

In contrast to early voting in previous years, the early voting on the first floor of the old courthouse, 200 N. Center St., has been light, but expected that to rise on Monday, Good said.

The office also will be working with an upgraded elections machines that mirrors the previous equipment but with new software and hardware, she said.

Wyoming never went to electronic, online voting. Former County Clerk Renea Vitto has said that clerks from other states would regard Wyoming as backwards for that.

But the state's allegedly antiquated paper ballot system looks quite good now both with absentee voting and ballot counting, The ballot machines at Wyoming polling places can't be hacked because they're not hooked up to the internet.

"We have a very secure elections program system," Good said. "I think we're very lucky to be in Wyoming."

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Here are a few other things to keep in mind for the primary:

-- Absentee voting ends at 5 p.m. Monday.

-- The polls on Tuesday open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

-- Four polling places have changed since 2018, the first three of which are related to COVID-19.

  • The Community Health Center of Central Wyoming polls has been moved to the Commons Area in St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 400 Country Club Road.
  • The Fish Hatchery polls have moved to Poison Spider School, 14200 Poison Spider.
  • The St. Stephen Church polls have moved to the Shrine Club, 1501 W. 39th St.
  • The Powder River School -- now mothballed -- polls have moved to the Powder River Church, 12540 Notches Ave.

-- Polling location Bar Nunn Fire Station will be accessible by Sunset Boulevard and Antelope Drive. However the west side of the runway will be closed. Please use an alternate route when voting at this location on Election Day.

-- Practice social distancing and expect lines. However, the consolidated polling places at the Industrial Building and Restoration Church, 411 S. Walsh Drive, have quickly processed voters in previous years.

-- State law prohibits any form of campaigning, including distributing literature and display of signs, within 100 yards of a polling place on the day of a primary, general or special election. This does not apply to bumperstickers on vehicles parked less than 100 yards from the polling place only when the elector is voting. A violation is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

-- For more information, visit the Natrona County Clerk's elections website.

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