With early voting already underway in Wyoming and less than a month before the general election, newly-appointed Secretary of State Karl Allred has asked county clerks to consider removing ballot drop boxes. 

“I do not wish to interrupt or cause confusion to the voting process that is already in-progress, but I will ask that you make an honest assessment as to whether or not discontinuing the use of your drop box would cause any disruption for your voters,” Allred wrote in a letter dated Oct. 7. 

Allred’s letter was an informal request and not a statutorily sanctioned directive, so clerks are not legally required to take any action. The state’s election code strictly limits the use of directives to emergencies. 

“Since drop boxes are not prohibited by the statute, a directive to prohibit them would conflict with current statute,” Kai Schon, director of the secretary of state’s election division, wrote in an email. “However, there is no conflict in kindly asking the county clerks to discontinue use on their own terms.”

The request does, however, appear to be a reversal from Allred’s declared intent during the appointment process when he said he was “only interested in maintaining the office.” 

Gov. Mark Gordon selected Allred out of three candidates put forth by the Wyoming Republican Party’s state central committee to fill a vacancy left by Secretary Ed Buchanan. The appointment is temporary since the winner of the general election will be sworn into office in January. That is very likely to be Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper) who does not have an opponent on the ballot. 

During his campaign, Gray has told voters he would ban ballot drop boxes. Such an action would require legislative action, since the power to make new laws or change existing election laws lies within the Legislature, according to the Wyoming Constitution. 

Ballot drop boxes have become controversial since the 2020 election due to unsubstantiated claims that they are vulnerable to voter fraud. Nine counties — Albany, Big Horn, Fremont, Johnson, Laramie, Park, Sheridan,  Sweetwater and Teton — used ballot drop boxes in the 2020 election without any problems. Allred acknowledges this in his letter. 

“I’m mindful of the fact that there have been no issues reported with the use of drop boxes in Wyoming, but that does not alleviate the potential for abuse or destruction of ballots through use of fire or other means,” Allred wrote. 

Allred did not return calls to WyoFile for this story. 

Currently, seven counties across Wyoming employ ballot drop boxes, according to Schon. 

Maggie Mullen

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. Dark and corporate money in politics and the media is working out well for whom? Just for the far-right evangelic and the hard left environgelic fear mongers.

  2. Are we surprised? Isn’t that GOP’s general rule anymore “say whatever it takes to get chosen/appointment/elected” then do what you want. We saw this with Supreme Court nominees, we see this with Allred and we’re seeing it all over the country as extreme right candidates try to change gears from appealing to “the base” in primaries to walking things back, ignoring what they said or just plain old lie as they try to appeal to the masses in the general election. The new “GOP” norm.

    1. Right on the money. Wyoming has had many distinguished and capable secretaries of state in hits history — from both parties. Copenhaver, Gage, Thyra Thompson, Karpan, Meyer, Maxfield, Buchanan, just to name a few. And now this bunch. Its truly sad what lays in store for the people of Wyoming.

  3. A Magapublican is caught lying, how is this news? Who really believes his name would have gone to the Governor without committing to the “big lie”? Perhaps they are afraid of election fraud because that is the only way they got their candidate passed a real Republican.

  4. What do you expect! The future Secratery of State Mr. Gray is a fervent believer that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump and hosted showing the stupidest move on the 202 election known as “2000 Mules”. It only took a day to debunk this piece of fantasy! Personally I am insulted that several of our candidates believe the election was stolen without any proof despite everybody with a single ounce of integrity knew this was a fantasy and told the President he lost, some in pure blunt terms. As a Poll Judge for so many cycles I can’t remember I’ve participated in I find this particularly insulting because I’ve always worked with people who represented both sides of the divide and they carried out their duties with diligence and absolute integrity. Ask yourself, when Hageman takes the oath of office will she truly defend the constitution from both foreign and domestic enemies? It will be interesting how she handles herself in the US House Chamber. Will she join the clown show or be a serious member of this body?

  5. So he wants to fix a problem that doesn’t even exist? Surely he has more important things to do.

  6. Gray and allred. We are doomed.

    Wyoming wants less government interference. Allred and gray pride themselves in it but they want to interfere with our rights. It is an insult to county officials that allred and gray do not believe that they can keep elections safe. 75% of Wyoming voted for the orange wonder. So were all those votes
    Suppose to be for Biden.

  7. There is no ‘there’ there regarding election fraud. Citing the possibility of abuse is much worse than ‘chicken little’… When will Wyoming voters stand up to these lieing incompetents?… Nevermind.

  8. Another GOP hack whose goal is to make voting more inconvenient. And Chuck Gray is a tRump pawn who spews lies about the 2020 election.

  9. Wouldn’t it be smarter to make it easier for people to vote, not harder? Oh that’s right, that’s not what the NEW Republican party wants. Ronald Reagan is rolling over in his grave

  10. Guess Wyoming may be one of the first states that elect an election denier and someone who is willing to change laws without looking at the structure of the law. Sad.For Wyoming = Sign of the times for sure.

  11. Oh no! Must be an emergency to pull those darn Ballot Drop Boxes. With the vote already in place and the boxes dispursed for use, it will take more than a polite asking to remove by law.
    There must be something more important for this Temporary Public Employee to do?? For the good of the people and Country.
    Not the Corporations and Party!!

  12. And so it begins. I’m guessing we’ll meet a lot of new “poll watchers” this time around.

  13. He obviously doesn’t understand the election process. Ballots in my county are barcoded. And there isn’t really a way for the public to “stuff” the ballot box. That barcode prevents anyone from voting more than once.

    1. A puppet Governor answering to his Oathkeeper master! Allred is an unqualified perpetual loser cosplaying a new role. Who will he be next? An Austin Power character, or John Rambo screaming :It’s not over! Sad that Wyoming’s government is under the spell of lies and tRumpian fascism.

    1. Any evidence to share that the comatose and the interred are voting in any discernable numbers in Wyoming?

    2. Right on – don’t forget the chronically disenfranchised. . . I’m incensed that in Wyoming we wouldn’t ensure everyone who can, will get to vote except the truly aforementioned unqualified and those who defraud the system. True the Vote!

  14. They’re projecting again. Watch for ballot destruction by “fire or other means” especially in Teton and Albany Counties.
    Republican accusations are confessions.

  15. Fresh into his appointment and he’s already showing his ignorance by repeating the pillow patriot and 2000 mules nonsense.

    The “potential” to be abused is not the same as proof of being abused. His statement just shows his forever enrollment in the gullible ol party…

    1. I’ve known Wyoming Secretaries of State, and many County Clerks. I always admired them for their efforts to make voting easy, safe and secure. Now appears someone has found a solution and is in search of a problem.
      From afar, I wish my family and dear Wyoming friends in both Parties, well.