Crazy conspiracy theories, once exclusively the domain of the tinfoil-hat crowd and societal fringe, have now wormed their way into the heart of American politics.

Of all the too-ridiculous-for-fiction fantasies making the rounds, the QAnon claim of a secret cabal of Satanic, leftist pedophiles operating a global child sex trafficking ring wins the crackpot sweepstakes, hands down.

But let’s not overlook the competition. It takes a special brand of nuttiness for some Wyoming Republicans to call for an audit of the state’s 2020 election, which their candidate, former President Donald Trump, handily won with 70% of the vote.

Wyoming officials, including the governor and secretary of state, have been inundated in recent weeks by emails from radical pro-Trump activists demanding a probe of voter fraud.

I won’t even dignify the charge by calling it “alleged” voter fraud, because other than vague, evidence-free claims that they just know it happened, no one has provided a scintilla of proof to Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, any other election official or a court of law.

If this endeavor consisted of a few people carried away with thoroughly debunked but rabid claims by right-wing media that the presidential election was stolen from Trump, it wouldn’t be worth writing about. 

But there are several reasons to be alarmed, beginning with state officials who continue to perpetuate Trump’s “big lie.”

At the head of the list is state Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper), one of at least eight candidates challenging U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) in her 2022 re-election bid. All of her opponents, of course, view her as vulnerable because she was among the 10 GOP House members to grow a conscience and vote to impeach Trump.

Gray recently tried to separate himself from the pack by promoting a bill to put the Department of Audit under legislative supervision and empower it to audit elections, not just finances. Fortunately the Management Audit Committee made short work of Gray’s proposal, killing it by a vote of 8-2.

Gray said he believes the presidential election was “rigged” and rife with voter fraud. He maintains it “created a lack of confidence” in the election process. Gray even traveled to Arizona to talk to the kooky senators who turned over ballots from a blue county to an outfit called Cyber Ninjas to conduct a sham audit.

Gray fell hook, line and sinker for this unabashed clown show, saying the auditors were doing “incredible work.” That assessment alone should disqualify him from serious consideration by Wyoming Republican voters.

One of Gray’s opponents in the congressional race, state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne), chastised him for promoting a Wyoming election audit and disparaging the fine work of the state’s county clerks.

“I’m sick and tired of it,” Bouchard said. “Why don’t we go to your clerk and audit your election and see if you were duly elected?”

That’s an important point made by a politician I disagree with on just about every issue except this one: none of the officeholders who keep preaching about the need for “election integrity” question any race won by Republicans, especially themselves. Those were all on the up and up!

I was dismayed to learn that Buchanan assigned three staff members to watch Mike Lindell, who hawks his “MyPillow” on TV, conduct a laughable seminar in Sioux Falls, S.D., on supposed national election fraud. Buchanan should personally reimburse the state for that waste of time and money.

But even more chilling were the comments of state Rep. Dan Laursen (R-Powell), who attended Lindell’s event in person. He said even if the charges the pillow guy made were only halfway or “a little bit” true, it’s enough to compel an election audit.

“Would it be wise for us to at least do one? It might be,” Laursen told WyoFile. “I don’t know if the secretary of state would ever be interested. To put people’s minds to ease … it’s pretty darn important, I think.”

I completely agree that we need to reassure voters about the integrity of our democracy. However, there’s a much easier, cheaper and more effective way of doing so: Stop lying to the American people about voter fraud. 

Tell them the truth: “Hey look, we REALLY wanted our guy to win, but he got spanked. So we went looking for fraud to explain the embarrassing loss. Alas, all the king’s horses (Republican election officials) and all the king’s men (more than 60 judges) found no credible evidence whatsoever. We simply couldn’t put Trumpty Dumbty’s electoral end-run back together again. We lost fair and square.”

Laursen, a three-term state lawmaker, should know that county-level post-election audits are required by state statute, that paper ballots are used in conjunction with digital vote-counting machines and that county clerks regularly purge voter rolls. Out of millions of votes cast in Wyoming since 2000, there have been only three cases of voter fraud, netting a total of four convictions and zero election results affected.

Moreover, while Lindell claims the Election Systems & Software equipment purchased by the state in 2019 can be hacked, Buchanan’s office said none of the tabulation machines were even connected to the internet during the 2020 election.  

State and federal judges, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, tossed suit after suit. Trump even appointed many of the jurists. 

Trump’s own Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency called the election “the most secure in American history.”

Every state, the District of Columbia, all U.S. territories and ultimately Congress certified Joe Biden’s landslide Electoral College victory. He won the popular vote by more than 7 million votes. This duly elected president isn’t going anywhere before the 2024 election.

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But why bother with such pesky facts when the big lie is so much more convenient — and effective. Polls indicate that a majority of Republicans nationwide believe Trump actually won. 

The people behind the push to audit elections in every state, including deep red Wyoming, know the truth. But they have their eyes firmly on the end game: Winning back the House, Senate and the Oval Office. Casting doubt on election integrity gives Republican-controlled state legislatures the cover they need to pass laws to suppress the votes of minorities and poor people.

Wyoming has generally resisted that pressure. This year the Legislature finally passed a watered-down version of the voter ID law that Gray has sponsored for the past three years. The defeat of his election audit bill earlier this month was a hopeful sign that state lawmakers aren’t buying what Gray is peddling.

Buchanan said in the absence of fraud evidence, he’ll start an education campaign to show voters that Wyoming elections are indeed fair and not subject to tampering. 

It’s a wishy-washy answer about a nonexistent problem. Let’s stop placating a fringe group of ideologues that just wants to stir an empty pot by filling it with lies and fabrications. Enough already.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Mike Lindell’s election seminar was held in Sioux Falls, S.D. -Ed.

Kerry Drake

Veteran Wyoming journalist Kerry Drake has covered Wyoming for more than four decades, previously as a reporter and editor for the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle and Casper Star-Tribune. He lives in Cheyenne and...

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  1. Drake just continues the misleading propaganda talking points of the left. Nothing original here. The misleading claim “State and federal judges, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, tossed suit after suit” fails to clarify that the vast majority of those cases were not heard because of lack of standing or other technical issues. Almost none were adjudicated on the merits of the claim. Those few that were actually examined fell on both sides of the issue.

    Drakes citing of Qanons claims is silly as Qanon is the fringiest of the fringe and certainly doesn’t represent Trump’s claims. I will agree that I’ve seen little to doubt the integrity of elections here in Wyoming and most other states. However, there is plenty of evidence to cause investigations into improper voting procedures and possibly outright fraud in many areas of the country. To say all the claims are “unfounded” is just a coverup for sleazy practices. Whether or not they influenced the outcome is hard to tell but these incidents did factually occur.

    Drake is no better than the far-right fringe partisians he distains. He’s just on the other extreme side of the wall.

    1. Please cite an authoritative source for “these incidents did factually occur.” Fox News, OAN,, Newsmax, Powell, Guiliani et al do not count.

  2. Amazing that there are all these Trump haters who live in la la land while their guy is busy increasing taxes, leaving Americans in Afghanistan after a middle of the night pull out with no warning to anyone, including our allies, leaving behind billions of dollars of military equipment–aircraft, weapons, night vision goggles, uniforms so they can pose as us, etc. etc. to terrorists. You have nothing to stand on for on your arrogant comments…you have put the true clown in office and he is destroying America… 1.5 million illegals entering through our southern borders bringing covid, human traffickers, and drugs…but you are all appear to be totally oblivious to what is going on. You have NOTHING…NOTHING at all to stand on. You call Trump an authoritarian while your guy signs a record number of executive orders destroying American jobs, ending energy free independence and working to push through programs that will saddle generations with taxes. The reality is, most of us can’t believe there are enough ignorant people to put such an incompetent in the White House. This is a man who runs away from the mic and refuses to answer reporters questions because he has a script to which he must adhere. He is even told whom to call on, and tells us “I was told to call on (then lists their names). He also tells us he can’t answer the question or he will get in trouble. Clearly he is not running the show.. But all of that will help all of you remain truly ignorant of what is happening in the world..,and clearly, you love it.

  3. In this state the best that a democrat can do is to vote for the least repugnant republican. Change your voting status to republican and vote for Liz in the primaries. If she wins her primary vote for her again in the election. we are going to wind up with a republican senator anyway. At least she is honest!!

    1. The best thing a Democrat can do in Wyoming is educate yourself instead of swallowing the propaganda that comes out of Congress. Then, if you try, you can learn to live free and fit in.

      1. if subscribing to Q-anon nonsense, stolen elections, election fraud, vaccine lies, covid lies, and “alternative facts” is what is needed to “fit in”, as you call it, then count me out. I’ll gladly be the black sheep in a sea of republican led BS..

  4. Mr. Drake’s article reads like the typical DC propaganda handed down to all media shills targeting their noncritical thinking base. How many times have we read the same lines from every news source in every region of the country? Big lie, Blah blah blah. Fringe group of ideologues, Blah, blah, blah. Crazy conspiracy theories. Blah, blah blah. Good lord, you would think some of these so call smart people writing the same old dried-up regurgitations could come up with their own opinion once in a while instead of having them all given to them.

    1. meanwhile, it’s the new age republicans that believe in a vampiric pedophile ring that harvests adrenochrome from children. these globalist “vampires” utilized technology that was developed by ex venezuelan president hugo chavez to “steal” an election from the new age republican lord and savior chrump.

      prior to pulling off the biggest election fraud known to the world, jewish space lasers were setting wildfires to make chrump look bad. the globalists also developed covid-19 to make chrump look bad in how his administration handled the pandemic.

      let’s talk about the conspiracy theories that democrats subscribe to, then we can compare which ones are crazier. deal?

    2. “Non-critical thinking base”? Perhaps we should have a head-to-head contest tp prove who has critical intellectual skills…. Bring it on!

  5. As of this writing, the score is 9 WY based comments to 5 from out of state. If the trend continues (one that is not precedented), we might need a comment audit. CyberNinjas** should be available as it is now September and their forensic report of AZ results, due in August, seems likely to drop anytime now – on that we have the authoritative word of one who appears to be the liaison to the liaison for the AZ senate to Maricopa County. I am a little worried that there is something in the water that they’re drinking in AZ – not for them but for us as a lot of that water is ours.

    **Ninjas, btw, “were a type of warrior who specialized in unconventional warfare such as infiltration, sabotage and assassination”. Aptly named for sure.

  6. It seems to me that Republicans are suffering from a kind of cool kids syndrome. They all want to be cool and follow the lead of Arizona and challenge the past election. They will make any election harder in the future for themselves and everyone else. The other thing that bothers me are the legislators who are involved. It makes me question their judgement in solving all the real problems the State faces.

  7. THERE’S MORE IMPORTANT THINGS ………..
    The number one priority on my list of priorities has been supporting the family of US Marine Rylee McCollum during their time of need. The Jackson Hole community will be judged depending on the support you render – and so far it looks great. I personally contributed $200 through GoFund Me for his widow and baby. Please concentrate on what’s really important in this world and put politics aside. Please do the American and Christian thing and step forward during their time of need.
    Two purple hearts and two bronze stars on my part.

  8. Do you remember the days when your parents subscribed to a Sunday paper?
    Ahhhh the smell of fresh newsprint in the morning. My brother loved the sports section, but I enjoyed the comics.
    Andy Capp, B.C., the Far Side.
    I guess that is one reason I like to read Mr. Drake’s pieces. Like a good play, they require that suspension of disbelief that lets you ponder if what he is saying is really connected to the reality you knew moments ago.
    These articles are quite literally a reflective foil to a segment on the Alex Jones Show. No aspersions implied. These guys are like twins separated at birth. I realize, of course, that most “liberals” just make up opinions about that program without sampling it.
    Only Republicans are willing to listen to the words of the other side before passing judgement. I was a Democrat for many years. Then I started reading history and taking it seriously. But waking up is hard. You have to be willing to question hard held beliefs for the greater good.
    That is ok. Again, I get it. There is only so much time in the day, right? It is much easier to read the funnies and giggle at the fool on the hill.
    This last election was a travesty where democrats and RINOs controlled the outcome in key counties. The next election will be more relevant to Wyoming voters. Cheney is a Democrat operative and in any county where there are enough ballots to skew the outcome there will be shenanigans. We must have a solid ground game and watch for ballot harvesting at senior homes. This is not the time to relax and read the comics, although Drake does give us a window into their way of thinking.

    1. Or Democrats just got more votes in key counties and nationally, Maybe you should stick to reading comics, since unserious fantasy is clearly your primary interest?

    2. Agree with Bob Baker concerning the 2020 election! There are more of us that stand with Chuck Gray than there are of you, Mr Drake. You can’t even get the city that the Cyber Symposium was held in correct! It was in Sioux Falls SD, NOT Spearfish SD. If this is such a BIG LIE, what are you afraid of? PROVE that the ES&S machine were not connected to the internet! PROVE that the Wyoming elections were not tampered with via the machines, by A FULL FORENSIC AUDIT!!! The BIG LIE is that our elections are secure! Any politician that doesn’t want to know FOR SURE that our elections are free and fair and that ONLY LEGAL VOTES are counted up AND down -ballot, is not interested in TRUTH and is promoting The BIG LIE and participating in the MANAGED DECLINE of our nation… “ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES”!!!

      1. All your capitalized concerns have been addressed already. The problem lies in that you don’t believe in what you’ve been told. You are expecting a different set of facts that are in line with your false beliefs. It doesn’t and shouldn’t work that way. Accept facts whether they line up with your delusions or not.

        1. “You don’t believe what you’ve been told…”

          You finally said something relevant.
          No. We don’t swallow the myth that 2 of the most disliked and immoral candidates the DNC had to offer, who couldn’t fill a minivan with potential voters, somehow beat the most popular President since FDR.
          No. Not buying it.

          1. the “immoral” candidates resoundingly beat your savior.

            you, like others here, aren’t equipped to lose gracefully. i have repeatedly pointed out that republican secretaries of states, district attorney’s, election judges, representatives, lawyers, attorney general’s, judges, and sitting representatives have all debunked your beliefs. chrump lost bob. i know that pains you to admit it, but at what point will enough be enough for you? who else needs to come out and admit/prove that there was NO fraud on the level that you minions are hoping for? can anyone or anything convince you of that?

      2. Hi Dawn,
        We left California where the democrats stole multiple congressional seats and the governor’s race overnight in 2018. That was the practice run for 2020. Exact same tactics. Our congressperson was winning all the way in a solid red district. Our district was plastered with signs for the democrat that looked homemade but upon inspection were mass produced. They were posted early and everywhere by paid crews. After the election they stayed up for weeks while the Republican candidate had the decency to take signs down. The next election the democrat was bounced out. No one liked him or knew who he was. Ballot harvesting of senior homes and guest workers is how they did it in 2018 and 2020.

        1. And yet in spite of this unmistakable fraud, you are all sitting doing absolutely nothing about it. I’m sorry to say this, but Republicans are defeatist.

    3. Bob says Cheney is a Democrat operative. Liz Cheney – you know, Dick’s daughter. How far to the right do you have to be to actually think Liz Cheney is pushing a liberal agenda? I suspect it is a little to the right of reality.

  9. Well presented in the true ‘sick n tired’ tone for the many of our Wyoning R’s that non-hysterical .Even as the absurdites of the shams gang-pile upon themselves, some new fear is invented and marketed. My concern lies with the market for this garbage. (Of which I must consume as well?)
    Yep. Enough.

  10. Anyone born after Novermber 4, year 2000 has never lived in a world where the Republicans won an election fair and square based on issues and voter turnout. The once practical GOP has devolved to a coliseum of negative campaigning , election rigging , displacing electoral blame , mudslinging , propagandizing, and now disinformation on an industrial scale capped by The Big Lie.

    I’ve lived long enough to know that Republicans have very little honor and accountability left in their playbook these days. They see their constituency dwindling and fading away , mostly as a result of Republican policies and ideologies being realized for what they are : detrimental. Also for failing toa dapt to the changing demovgraphics of contemporary America. The so-called Party of Lincoln … isn’t. QED.

  11. Questions for Mr. Bailey. Have you ever worked at the polls in any capacity? Do you have any idea what a poll watcher is, what they do or how they are appointed?

  12. Articles by Kerry Drake are why I hesitate to support Wyofile…this guy is a true blue blind lib. He conveniently leaves out pertinent information such as: Marc Elias, the Democratic election law specialist who engineered over 300 lawsuits prior to the 2020 election incorporating changes to swing states election laws that made election fraud much easier…ballot harvesting, absentee ballots, etc. While many states talk about audits, there are rarely “forensic audits” which examine in totality all of the aspects of a election vote…and that is the only way to truly know if fraud occurred. The use of electronic voting machines is just another opportunity for fraud, and not allowing poll watchers as prescribed by law is another. While there may be no justification for an audit in Wyoming given the lopsided GOP victory, there certainly is in closely contested states. Kerry only presents his biased side of the story…is that journalism? Hardly

        1. The factual portions of the article are not in dispute. What exactly is your point?

          The “audit” to which you refer below is a partisan clown show funded by right wing Trump backing groups and is in no way credible.

          If you don’t like opinion being presented as fact you must hate Fox News, OAN, Newsmax etc

        2. I hope your statistic is correct.

          Maybe, those who incorrectly believe there was fraud on a massive scale, will finally be convinced that they were being misled this whole time.

    1. Yawn…. Nothing more than propaganda designed to provoke and demonize anyone who has reached the conclusion (based on numerous legitimate concerns) that there was fraud in the Presidential election. The WY corporate media will continue to shill for Cheney simply because they all hate President Trump. She will continue to enjoy numerous puff-pieces and interviews, based on this single-issue alliance. This website is typical of the Left where the posting “guidelines” are clearly less stringent for liberals than conservatives. For example, recently an activist from OR was allowed to bombard the site without any restrictions, meanwhile people were prevented from even responding to him. I was prevented from even pointing it out. You are right not to fund it, as they are likely well funded by the corporate media machine. Such opinion pieces, although theatrical, are little more failed and desperate attempts to distract from the implosion of the current regime. Confidence in the regime dwindles, and skepticism in the legitimacy of the presidential election grows daily.

      1. Wyofile gets to decide what messages they decide to publish. If some of yours weren’t posted, I’d assume they were pointless to the discussion and involved direct and/or personal attacks.

        Instead of portraying the victim, add something productive to the conversation instead of going off on an unhinged rant. It is wyofile’s space, that doesn’t mean you get to say whatever you want without repercussion.

        Cheers

      2. I’m glad to see that the bodysnatchers haven’t overcome the whole of Jackson. They only get you when you sleep. Stay awake and you’ll stay human. ???

  13. Absence of election fraud evidence? Have you been under a rock? I serve as the Deputy to the Senate Liaison to the Maricopa County Audit, and it’s clear you’ve not reviewed any of the Senate hearings with Ken Bennett, Doug Logan and Ben Cotton. Stay tuned…I can’t wait for you to be disappointed.

    1. Will those who subscribe to the big lie be disappointed when they are proven wrong? Or, will the goal posts be moved and claim another conspiracy is in play?

        1. I’ve watched the hearings so far. They’ve already revealed some unbelievable and concerning stuff as it is. I can’t imagine what is in the full report. Is the report going to be released soon, or will we find out more at the upcoming hearing?

      1. You mean the democrats can only plan one at a time? With 160 years of experience at it you should expect better. They were mailing ballots for dead soldiers to block Lincoln’s election. You heard of him, right? He was the first candidate put up by the party that was founded to free the slaves, and freed the slaves… from the democrats. Obviously there are still hard feelings.

      2. Goal posts moved –
        “What’s next for the election audit?

        Judge Michael Kemp asked Langhofer when the Cyber Ninja’s preliminary report on the audit would go to the Senate and whether the Senate would seek to protect that from disclosure through legislative privilege as well.

        Fann announced last week that the preliminary report was delayed because Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan and two other members of his team contracted serious cases of COVID-19.

        Langhofer said the preliminary report is expected to come in three volumes, and one volume is not written yet. He said it will be “at least two weeks” before a final report is produced.”

        https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2021/09/01/arizona-audit-senate-continue-fight-keep-records-public/5684650001/

    2. I’ve followed those hearings . And so far the only thing that has been revealed is just how woefully incompetent, dishonest and shady Doug Logan et al. actually are when it comes to examining and understanding elections and elections processes.

      Sure can’t wait to see what bogus claims these incompetent goobers will have to walk back next.
      I just wish this circus you’ve joined wasn’t so destructive to our democracy…

  14. Well written- I’m one of the many Republicans who is also “sick and tired of it”. For all elected officials, I wish they would spend more energy and time on the public work they’ve been entrusted with instead of arguing over election results.

    1. Yes, once upon a time they went to DC to get the people’s work done. Now it’s just to see whatever nonsense they throw on the wall, sticks. Udderly ridiculous imo.

    2. You are right. But outrage-politics is the current rage.

      Funny. You are from Florida, home to Bush vs Gore.

      Apparently a statewide recount would have put Gore into office..

      Talk about stolen elections. The Bush dynasty thanks you.

      In Jackson, WY, we did have a case of voter fraud. A felon voted for Trump.