The Albany County Assessor's office, like many of its counterparts around the state, makes extensive real estate information available online via a searchable map server, pictured here. If an address doesn’t show up in a search of the system, that’s likely because it doesn’t officially exist, a clerk at that office said.(Albany County Assessor’s Office)

Gubernatorial candidate Dr. Taylor Haynes’ voter registration records show three different residential addresses listed since 2014, none of which are classified as residential properties in official county records.

The log also shows that in 2015 the Albany County elections office flagged him as having moved out of the state. He voted in the 2016 election with a commercial property in Laramie as his residential address.

The records raise fresh questions following reports that Haynes’ claim of residency for his current gubernatorial campaign is under investigation by Albany County District Attorney Peggy Trent. On Wednesday, a Secretary of State’s office spokesperson said that office has also received a complaint and had passed it along to the Wyoming Attorney General’s office.  

In a video posted on his campaign website Haynes called questions about his residency “a pack of lies” ginned up to confuse voters. The candidate said his “counsel” was working with the Secretary of State’s office to clear up the matter. The video did not offer any evidence of residency or explanation for listing a commercial address as his residence. Haynes has not responded to repeated calls and emails seeking comment.  

Dr. Taylor Haynes during a 2014 campaign for governor. (Archive)

Wyoming election statute defines “residence” as “the place of a person’s actual habitation.” The Wyoming Constitution requires that a candidate for governor “has resided 5 years next preceding the election within the state.”

Haynes enters the Albany County voter logs in November 2014 with a residential address on Bull Mountain Road, a rural road that leads toward his ranch land. The address is not in the county assessor’s online database that lists Haynes’ properties in that area of Wyoming as agricultural land only.  

If an address doesn’t show up in a search of the Albany County assessor’s website, that’s likely because it doesn’t officially exist, a clerk at that office said.

The Albany County planning office creates an address in a rural area when a building permit is issued for a property, planner David Gertsch said. No building permits have been issued or applied for for the area associated with the address Haynes listed, Gertsch said.

Google Maps places the address near where property records indicate Haynes’ agricultural plots begin. No structures appear on those plots in Albany County property records.

In 2014, Haynes was running for the Republican nomination for governor against Gov. Matt Mead and Cindy Hill. He finished second to Mead, with 31,532 votes, according to the voting-data website Ballotpedia.

In April of 2014, the Casper Star-Tribune reported Haynes would become an Albany County resident as soon as construction was finished at a house on his ranch there. In an interview with a former WyoFile reporter that year, Haynes said he had moved to a ranch in Albany County after the area he lived in in Laramie County had become built up, according to the reporter’s unpublished notes.

“My dream was to have a ranch in the mountains,” Haynes told WyoFile at the time. He said they kept the property “below the radar” due to privacy concerns.

In March of 2015, the log says Haynes was moved from active voter status to inactive. “Moved out of state,” is the reason listed in the audit log.

Albany County Elections Clerk Jackie Gonzales confirmed that such an entry in the audit data would indicate a change in Haynes’ residency. “He was active and then he was inactive because he moved out of state,” she said, “[According to] the audit data.”

Gonzales was unable to answer further questions about the voter-log data because of the ongoing investigation, according to county attorney Trent, who sat in on the phone call with WyoFile.

It’s unclear what raised flags about Haynes’ registration. Wyoming statute says voter registration records should be checked against databases of drivers licenses and criminal convictions, death records and parole records. If a person registers to vote in another state or county, the county clerk holding his or her registration would be notified.

Property records indicate the two residences on Haynes’ ranch are in Larimer County, Colorado. The Larimer County elections clerk says Haynes never registered to vote there.

Under Wyoming statute, county clerks have to inform a voter that the clerk has reason to cancel his or her registration. The voter then has a 20 day period to respond and potentially stop the cancellation. Haynes’ voter log shows that he was notified of the pending cancellation on March 6, 2015.

Seven days later on March 13, it appears Haynes resubmitted the Bull Mountain Road address. The address was entered as a “non-standard” address, according to the log. Non-standard means it did not appear in the county’s address library and was instead manually entered into the system by someone at the Albany County Elections office, according to an explanation provided by the Secretary of State’s office.

On the same day, the register log shows Haynes was moved from inactive back to being an active voter but then was changed to inactive again and another registration cancellation notification was sent out.

The next entry in the voting log comes months later on July 6, 2015, when Haynes changed his residential address from the Bull Mountain Road address to an address in downtown Laramie — 512 East Grand Avenue.

That address belongs to a commercial property. It was acquired in 2014 by Thunderbasin Land and Livestock LLC., according to the Albany County assessor’s office. That’s the same corporation that owns Haynes Colorado-Wyoming Ranch. At that time, the property was listed with the Albany County assessor’s office as having mixed retail space with office units. There was no record of residential space.  Google shows it as having once been occupied by Mountain Management Benefits Company, a company associated with Haynes’ medical service company Prodegi.

In September 2015, ownership of the Grand Avenue property passed to a different LLC, run by a Laramie businessman, according to the assessor’s office. Property records show the lot is currently owned by a real-estate agent, and today it is a real estate office. The property, which inside and outside looks like a historic Laramie home on a now-busy commercial street, housed a law office for Warren Lauer before Haynes purchased it. Lauer served on the UW board of trustees at the same time as Haynes.  

In September, 2017, Haynes’ voter log contains a “Citizenship Validation” entry. The entry indicates Haynes is a valid U.S. citizen as determined by a crosscheck with the Wyoming Department of Transportation database, said Will Dinneen, spokesman for the Wyoming Secretary of State. Wyoming statute requires voter registration data to be cross checked with drivers license data.

On the same day as the citizenship validation, Haynes’ log shows a third change in address, this one from the Grand Avenue property to a property on 3rd Street in Laramie. That property is a wood-fronted building on one of Laramie’s principle commercial streets. The business is owned by Brendan Murphy, a Laramie real estate agent, according to property tax records.

A sign in front of the property is for Prodegi Corporate Benefit Services. That company’s business filing lists Haynes as its registered agent. On Thursday morning, an employee of Prodegi was in the office and said Haynes was not present at the building. She could not provide any information about whether he lived there, she said.

“I just work here,” she said.  

Andrew Graham

Andrew Graham is reporting for WyoFile from Laramie. He covers state government, energy and the economy. Reach him at 443-848-8756 or at andrew@wyofile.com, follow him @AndrewGraham88

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3 Comments

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  1. We have rules that SHOULD be followed! Where there is smoke there must be fire! If Dr. Haynes has been a part of the Wyoming community for decades than this shouldn’t even be a question! He should remove his name from the list until it get straighten out. It would be hell if the reports are true and for some reason he gets voted in then the rumors are found to be true. We end up with the cost of a special election? Because he can not answer a simple question “where were you living?” His mind might be Wyoming but his respect for our election laws are called in and under suspicion! We don’t need to cloud the election process, prove you were leagle the question goes away. Clouded proof like this just bogs down the process. How hard is it to give the Secretary of State and the Attorney General the proof need to settle the issue immediately or drop him off the ballot.

  2. The Secretary of State and the Attorney General need to settle the issue immediately. There’s no doubt that Dr. Haynes has been a part of the Wyoming community for decades. If he’s disqualified on a technicality, then the state needs to disqualify him on that technicality immediately. Doing so would allow the voters to seek other candidates. Leaving him in the race with a cloud over his candidacy isn’t fair to him or the voters. Failure to resolve the issue quickly is bad for the entire state.

    That he was validated in September 2017 seems to be the final answer. If that was the final answer, then the state needs to acknowledge that answer and close the issue. If that validation isn’t the final answer, then the state needs to explain what the validation means and why the validation was issued at all.

    I’m new to Wyoming, so I can’t speak of the generations of Wyoming background that many people have. I’m still an undecided voter, but I can see very clearly that Dr. Haynes is committed to Wyoming.

  3. This is just another attack on Taylor Haynes to keep him from getting elected. I own a ranch, and a house in town, as many ranchers. That does not mean I am not a resident of Wyoming. I remember the lies told about Haynes by the Matt Mead supporters. It worked then, I hope it doesn’t work again. Haynes has my vote. I know him personally, and he is a great guy and would be a great Governor Of Wyoming.