Governor Gordon Vetoes Bill That Could ‘Compromise Election Confidence and Integrity’
Governor Gordon announced on Friday that he is exercising his veto authority on Senate File 131 - Prohibition of unsolicited ballot forms.
That's according to a press release from the Governor, which stated that Gov. Gordon signed many bills throughout this most recent session that were designed to strengthen election integrity and security, but he said that changes made to Senate File 131 during the legislative process "muddled the bill's language and intent."
Governor Gordon offered more insight into this in his letter to Secretary of State Chuck Gray.
"Throughout this legislative session, election bills were brought forward to address these voter concerns and follow through on campaign promises," the letter to Gray stated. "I want to be clear, at no time have I been presented with facts of fraud, mismanagement, or malfeasance in Wyoming's election process."
Despite that, Gov. Gordon said, he has signed certain bills that strengthen election integrity and security.
He is vetoing SF0131, however. Governor Gordon wrote that the bill was brought forward to address the possibility of voter confusion and subsequent irritation brought forth by the distribution of certain campaign materials in Wyoming's last election.
"In a vain attempt to promote absentee voting, one statewide campaign sent a mailer with a misleading 'OFFICIAL ELECTION DOCUMENT ENCLOSED' marking on the front of the envelope," Gov. Gordon's letter stated. "Such an assertion of 'official election' material understandably could cause confusion and anger [in] some voters.
Governor Gordon did note that though inappropriate, this 'tactic' did no put at risk the integrity or security of Wyoming's elections.
"Without exception, Wyoming law obliges a qualified elector to contact their County Clerk and submit the required identifying information in order to receive a ballot and vote in an election," the letter continued.
Governor Gordon wrote that during the debate regarding SF0131, the Senate adopted an amendment that dealt directly with the potential for confusion created by the misleading mailer, including the clarifying language "which claims to be an official election document."
"Regrettably, some members of the House saw fit to take action to strike this useful Senate amendment while a number of its members were temporarily not on the floor," Gov. Gordon wrote. "Without the benefit of the Senate's clarifying language, the intent of the legislation has been muddled to the point where signing SF0131 as currently written could well result in unintended consequences that would compromise election confidence and integrity."
Gov. Gordon also wrote that this bill, in its current form, could provide means to inappropriately suppress proper absentee voting.
For those reasons, Governor Gordon vetoed SF0131.
Governor Gordon's full letter to Secretary Chuck Gray can be read here.