Let’s just say it right up front: A Medicare card is not an ID. It doesn’t have a photo. It doesn’t have an address. It doesn’t have eye color or hair color. It is printed on paper that can be purchased at your local office supply store. It is an insurance card, just like the Blue Cross/Blue Shield one I carry in my wallet with my name and insurance policy number.

The fact that a Medicare card is on the list of acceptable forms of “identification” included in House Bill 75 – Voter identification — which is steaming its way through the Wyoming Legislature — is a real indication of how serious a problem voter fraud is in Wyoming. It isn’t. 

House Bill 75 is a non-serious solution searching for a non-existent problem, but it is just the first move in a more insidious effort to make it more difficult to vote in Wyoming.

And one only needs to look at the original list of acceptable forms of ID in sponsor Rep. Chuck Gray’s (R-Casper) bill to see who is being targeted. Student IDs were not included, and tribal IDs as they currently exist were not included. Both are government-issued and contain way more information than a Medicare card. But isn’t that the point? 

Older, white folks aren’t the ones that Rep. Gray is targeting for disenfranchisement. Young people, Indigenous people, people with limited resources are indeed being singled out in this bill.

Fortunately, there have been some improvements since the bill’s introduction — tribal IDs are in. Student IDs are in. But still, nearly all the acceptable IDs listed in the HB 75 cost money: a driver’s license is $40; a Tribal ID is $20. Plus there’s the cost and hassle of getting to the Department of Motor Vehicles on a day when they are open (in Dubois the fourth Monday of the month!).

All except the Medicare card. Turn 65, fill out a form online and boom, your flimsy, paper card with your name and your insurance policy number arrives in the mail, and you are good to vote in Wyoming! It isn’t really an ID, but it is apparently good enough for Gray.

And make no mistake, the Wyoming Republican Party is just getting started. If it has its way, it will soon be more challenging for every Wyoming resident to vote. Including Republicans. At a recent GOP meeting, party members passed a resolution that absentee ballots “be restricted to only members of the U.S. military who are deployed outside the State or those with valid reasons (e.g., work-related, school, disability, distance) preventing them from voting at the polling location.”

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In the 2020 general election, more than half of the people voting in Wyoming did so using an absentee ballot. It was convenient, and Wyoming’s county clerks and the Secretary of State’s Office did an excellent job to provide a smooth, safe and efficient process. And guess what? More than 47% of Wyoming’s Republican voters chose to vote early. And the Medicare crowd, Wyoming’s largest voting bloc? Nearly 70% voted early. 

The “solutions” Gray and the Wyoming Republican Party espouse do nothing to improve Wyoming elections. They only advance a national talking point that elections are rigged (they aren’t) and make it harder for Wyoming voters to participate. Not just for Democrats and Independents. They make it harder for the vast majority of Wyoming voters — Republicans!

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12 Comments

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  1. Face it, rethuglicans are fascists to the core. They were in the 1930s, and they remain so now. They want only the freedom to dominate others. Wake up people! Turn off your propaganda-box TVs, and start using your own brains for thinking.

  2. I’m over 65 and have voted absentee most of my life, every year, from age 18. I want time to decide my vote. Research how I should vote.
    Wyoming should allow more absentee voting, bad weather, aging population, many rural folks having to travel to vote…..how stupid is the 66th Legislature? This is what happens when the Extreme Religious Right takes over, County by County. The end of Democracy in the state of Wyoming!

    Hoping the Federal government sets new regulations to increase voter turn out!

    1. Amen! I voted in person in Wyoming–once. I was unfamiliar with the machinery being used then (having voted absentee since the mid 70s) and a thuggish, impatient poll worker grabbed my ballot from my hand, looked it over carefully, and inserted it into the counting machinery. That was it for me. I have far more privacy when I vote by mail and don’t have to deal with thugs when I do so.

  3. If you need I’d to buy a gun ,beer and many other things why not have I’d to vote just makes common sense.

    1. The common sense answer to your question is that unlawful purchase/possession/use of firearms and alcohol are serious problems that actually exist in this state and need to be addressed, whereas voter fraud (specifically voter impersonation) is not. The safeguards currently in place are already fully sufficient.

      There is no need to create new and REAL problems for at least some voters in the state in order to solve some wholly imaginary problem.

  4. I was surprised and a little bit puzzled when I received an application last June for the opportunity to caste a mail-in ballot from the Wyoming Sec. of State given that Trump was already complaining about voting by mail. I thought it was a great idea and took advantage in the primary and general elections. The Wyoming legislators must have gotten slapped around by the Trump failure cultists for making voting so easy. It doesn’t give me much confidence in our legislators when they are spending time working on a voter fraud problem that doesn’t exist in our State. They need to work on more serious problems like finding a way to open and finance the operation of all the closed rest areas along the highways in our State. No better way to promote tourism in the State than a bunch of tourists relieving themselves along the edge of the road.

  5. Fraud in Wyoming Must be rampant since clearly no one with a nickels worth of sense would have voted for a failed president.

  6. Once again, the Republican Party proudly shows its true colors: anti-democratic, win-at-all-costs and make the playing field as uneven as possible. This is a political party that is sick and dying, thrashing around in its death throes. More of the same BIG LIE that we got from Trump: there is no voter fraud at all in Wyoming. Ridiculous and lame, as usual.

    Bob Skaggs, Jackson

  7. I wish the GOP was as invested in protecting the right to vote as they are the right to bear arms…then we’d actually have a government of the people. The GOP is trying so hard to stop people who don’t agree with them from voting they are willing to sacrifice their own members….and this in the reddest state in the country!

    1. ” A well-respected populace being necessary for the security of the democratic republic, a citizen’s right to vote shall not be infringed “.

      Does that sound about right ?

  8. Making it harder to vote will not keep committed extremists away from the polls, whether they are on the right or the left. It will deter people who are less politically committed, and who are discouraged about the system. It will increase division and extremism in government.

  9. Preach, Mr. Palmer!

    Bills such as this only allow supporters to thump their chests and think they’ve actually done something positive when, in fact, it’s anti-American. Ask any supporter for proof of voter fraud in Wyoming to justify this bill and they offer none.