Secretary of State Chuck Gray, then a representative for House District 57, speaks at a Stop the Steal Rally Jan. 6, 2021, outside the Wyoming State Capitol. (Michael Cummo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle)

When a new law stripped Wyoming voters of the ability to change party affiliation on Election Day earlier this month, Secretary of State Chuck Gray called it a “pivotal moment for election integrity.”

“Ending crossover voting to protect the integrity of the election process has been our office’s number one priority this session and we worked diligently on its passage,” Gray said in a March 2 press release

A few days later, a collection of facts about election integrity and security published by the previous administration vanished from his agency’s website. The public information campaign had been spearheaded by former Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, also a Republican, to address concerns, combat misinformation and boost voter confidence following the 2020 election. 

“This is your trusted source for election information,” the website, archived here, read. “The information below brings to light the truth about the security and accuracy of Wyoming elections and addresses the various myths about the insufficiencies and inaccuracies in Wyoming’s election process.”

Since March 7, a “server error” message appears when attempting to access the now-defunct webpage. “The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable,” it reads. There are no longer links on the site navigating to the page and the information does not appear to be anywhere else on the secretary’s website. 

Secretary Gray ran on an election integrity platform for his first term as the state’s chief elections officer while lobbing unverified claims of “tremendous problems” with Wyoming’s elections. WyoFile did not receive a response by press time to multiple requests of Gray’s spokesman, including questions about the removal of the webpage and what, if any, plans Gray has to combat misinformation.

A graphic depicting different forms of “information pollution,” created by staff under former Secretary of State Ed Buchanan. The graphic, which was part of a public information campaign, was removed from the secretary’s website along with other election integrity and security facts in early March 2023. (Courtesy Wyoming Secretary of State)

New administration

Newly elected officials often revamp their agencies’ websites, Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-Cheyenne) said. He pointed to State Auditor Kristi Racines, who launched a new webpage in her first term dedicated exclusively to documenting the state’s expenditures, and Gov. Mark Gordon, who created Wyoming Sense also as a budget transparency tool during his first year in office. Both of those instances were about making additional information accessible to the public. 

“I would say that it was superbly beneficial information to the public to know that our elections are safe and secure,” Zwonitzer said. “I am optimistic that information [will be] put back on the secretary of state’s website as soon as possible.”

Sen. Cale Case (R-Lander) called it “troubling” and was disappointed to see Buchanan’s work removed. In addition to the myth-busting website, Buchanan also traveled the state to present the information in person. 

“He went right into the heart of the Republican Party and made those presentations and said, ‘Look, this is wrong,’” Case said.

Before leaving office in 2022 to pursue a judgeship, Buchanan told WyoFile it was critical that he engage the public and make himself available for whatever questions voters might have. 

“I think it’s healthy for citizens to ask questions, and have a curiosity about how their own election systems work,” Buchanan said during a September 2022 interview. “What I don’t think is healthy is taking a national narrative or issues that may or may not have occurred in other states and automatically assuming that Wyoming is the same way.”

In a June 2022 op-ed, Buchanan outlined the lengths his election division went to review claims MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell made about widespread voter fraud in Wyoming. Each of those claims were disproven by elections staff, Buchanan said. 

When asked as a candidate if he would continue Buchanan’s public education efforts if elected, Gray didn’t answer the question directly. 

“I’m not into the talk that we see a lot from politicians,” Gray said. “I don’t do that, I work on focusing on getting things done.”

A diagram of Wyoming’s audit and election results process, created by staff under former Secretary of State Ed Buchanan. The diagram, which was part of a public information campaign, was removed from the secretary’s website along with other election integrity and security facts in early March 2023. (Courtesy Wyoming Secretary of State)

Missing information

Before the webpage disappeared, it detailed the three forms of “information pollution” — misinformation, disinformation and malinformation. 

“Disinformation about election integrity is widespread! In fact, spreading false information is one of the most common methods of attack used by those seeking to disrupt our elections,” it read. 

It also addressed seven common election-related myths, including the misconception that only some voters in Wyoming use a paper ballot. 

“Every voter that votes, whether through filling out a paper ballot by hand or using the touchscreen (ExpressVOTE), has a paper ballot that is cast indicating their ballot choice,” it read. 

It also debunked the theory trumpeted by Lindell that Wyoming’s voting machines are connected to the internet. The state replaced its outdated voting equipment ahead of the 2020 election, none of which has “the hardware or software required to allow internet connectivity nor does the tabulation computer in each county have the hardware or software required to allow internet connectivity.” 

The new machines, selected by a task force made up of lawmakers, county clerks and other election officials, were “more secure and sophisticated than any other voting machines used in the history of Wyoming’s elections.”

The webpage also provided a diagram depicting Wyoming’s audit and election results process. Buchanan’s office worked with the University of Wyoming to pilot an audit using statistical analyses to measure election accuracy. In the case of the 2022 primary election, about 3,000 ballots were selected at random for the statistical audit — all of which were adjudicated with 100% accuracy. 

The webpage also called on voters to stand up against misinformation by “spreading facts” and getting involved, such as by volunteering as a poll worker. 

“Be vigilant and understand that misinformation spreads like wildfire, but together we can snuff out the flames and actively participate in elections with confidence,” it read. 

Maggie Mullen reports on state government and politics. Before joining WyoFile in 2022, she spent five years at Wyoming Public Radio.

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  1. The Wyoming GOP is going to have a reconning and it has started . How long it will take I am unsure. Unita County took the lead. Other counties will be doing the same. Gray is a one term misfit and liar and carpetbagger. Just remember the Wyoming Constitution still carries actual weight and will be our saving grace along with actual level headed republicans that will no longer tolerate the demise of their party.

  2. It is one thing to disagree on these issues and have lively debate. We all have our perspectives based on the quality of information that we are fed, and the amount of effort we put into actually seeking truth. It is quite another to disparage people and their faith in particular, Harvey.

  3. if cultivating and reinforcing the view that land, resource and power grabs are good and need to be expanded and rewarded, cons in general and wyoming cons in particular are your champions. greed, avarice and misinformation.

  4. As the nation spirals towards failure, Wyoming seems to like accelerating the descent. Their ideas are unpopular and they are losing on all fronts, so the only way to maintain their last bit of power is to lie, cheat and hide their corruption. I have the feeling that when their supporters figure out how they’ve been duped, there’s going to be a reckoning like no other. The facade is crumbling.

    The GOP’s childish bill “Denouncing the Horrors of Socialism,” while completely ignoring the “Disintegration of Capitalism” right before our eyes is another action we will look back on in history books and wonder how people could be so stupid.

    1. I fear that, as you said, when supporters figure it out, it will be too late. We are in a death spiral in this country and power, greed, and control are in the cockpit.

    2. Problem is, those being duped will never know it because they refuse to believe any worthy journalistic facts from solid sources. They only trust the ‘news’ they want to believe from sketchy on-line manipulators. Respect for high quality journalism and academics in general has been dwindling for decades and has reached a new low. Thank you WyoFile for fighting against the lies.

  5. An excellent piece of reporting by Maggie Mullen, and an apt one for “Sunshine Week.” I hope she is able to have a face to face interview with Chuck Gray to report his responses… and she might want to bring along a witness 🙂

    1. Yes, great reporting Maggie. Many thanks. Chuck Gray is too threatened by a woman reporter and doubtful he’d even consider a fact to face conversation. He’s also pretty dense.

  6. Thank goodness we have the investigative journalism provided through WyoFile to keep us informed of these questionable nuances in our “conservative” political state. My native Wyoming home is becoming the bastion of “far right” politics – to my chagrin.

  7. Misinformation is the new term for conservative ideals and principles according to the Democratic Party, the media, and establishment “republicans “. The people that cry out against Chuck Gray the loudest are the ones who are enjoying power and prestige and reside in the current system, and if you rely on their that assurances that the system works perfectly and there is no corruption whatsoever, you are misguided. Allow Mr. Gray to do what he was elected to do or make a fool of himself, or whatever. If there is nothing there, then we can rejoice and send him home. If there IS something wrong there, give him the courtesy to do what we sent him there to do, instead of constantly undermining him and his efforts.

    1. His whole shtick was to repeat the pillow patriot, fox News, and 10,000 mules while on the campaign trail. Nothing of his own, just regurgitating of lies and nonsense. The same lies that Tucker Carlson, Hannity, laura Ingraham, etc. ALL admitted to behind the scenes.

      Rational people would re-evaluate themselves after they learned that they were lied to for TV ratings. Not gray though. He’s doubled down and looks even more foolish than before. Shows me he has no honesty or integrity.

      Gray and his silver spooned appointed job from dear old dad is his only work history. The radio company that his dad owns hasn’t been compliant with the secretary of state for over a decade. When confronted with this information, gray blamed the liberal “lame stream” media for starting a “witch hunt” against him. His whining and deflection shows me he has no accountability.

      He has no integrity, honesty, or accountability. The low information voters that voted him in should be embarrassed for voting for him, instead of defending him against strangers on the internet.

    2. Exactly what did “you” send him to do. He lied to all of you. He misrepresented the facts and now he has torn down the data of truth in our elections. He is a disciple of the far right that has done nothing but lie, and produce unproven data and ridiculous claims to alter the truth. In addition to Chuck Gray, FOX is a prime example and they are going to be paying for it not only financially but they may meet their demise. Your blaming the Democrats, the real media and truthful conservative republicans for something that never happened and supporting the continued tear down of our democracy certainly reflects how uneducated and easily manipulated you are. I am sorry for all of you who went down this snake hole as you are victims of the poison of this deadly snake.

  8. Even the mis/dis/mal information rubric is not clear. Try propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation. Propaganda only tells one side of a story but the facts are accurate. Misinformation is a story or report that includes wrong information but the mistake is inadvertent (benefit of the doubt?). If misinformation is repeated it becomes disinformation. Disinformation is a narrative that flat out lies, or contradicts the evidence and/or facts.

    What Gray does by removing the website is disinformation, a kind of lying by omission.

    It’s creepy – what Gray has done. What’s creepy is that he can not only lie, but get away with it. I won’t go so far as to say Gray as a person is creepy – I don’t know him – but his behavior certainly is. There is no need to go see the movie Scream VI. We have our own horror story playing out in State government.

  9. Chuck Gray won election to his current by casting all sorts of aspersions on our then elected officials and election systems but never proving anything. I can’t wait to see what sort of accusations he makes when voted out at the end of his first term.

      1. I think he will be re-elected as his base is the same as the one that elected Hageman. Hageman’s relatives have been hired in Gray’s organization so that links them together then connects them to Peter Thiel’s money and fascist ideas.

        Hageman will be running for Governor and wants the primary cleared of RINOs so she can ascend to the throne.

    1. The only other equal is our state treasurer. Two totally incompetent people in two of our four statewide elected positions.

  10. ‘Election Integrity and Security’ facts vanished from state website

    Honesty, integrity, and intelligence left the office once chuck gray got elected.

  11. You gullible fools surely can pick ’em, including the idiots who make the appointments and the confirmations. What a sorry bunch. It’s reflective of where the country is during these last days of the human monkey, almost like viewing a rapid regression to prehistoric times. Pray on, little kiddies…your imaginary being will “save” you–LOL.