Ready: Clerk ensures a fair election

Alexis Barker, NLJ News Editor

Weston County Clerk Becky Hadlock is guaranteeing an accurate and fair election after an error in the 2020 election that resulted in the reporting of incomplete unofficial results, and even the declaration of the wrong winner in the county commissioner race for a short time on election night. The state’s primary election is Aug. 16, and the general election is Nov. 8.

As previously reported by the News Letter Journal in August 2020, the unofficial results of the primary election race, subsequently released on the News Letter Journal’s Facebook page on election night (Aug. 18), for the Board of Weston County Commissioners declared Vera Huber the winner over incumbent commissioner Don Taylor.

A couple of hours after the original release of the unofficial results, the News Letter Journal was informed that there had been a mistake and the wrong results had been released. At that time, Hadlock emailed the updated results that showed Taylor had received more votes than Huber. The official results from the election show Huber received 1,074 votes while Taylor received 1,077.

In a follow-up discussion with Hadlock on Aug. 20, Hadlock informed the paper that one of the necessary boxes was not checked before the unofficial results were compiled, leaving out a portion of the votes. Once the mistake was caught, she checked the box and reprinted the results. 

Weston County Republican Party Chairman Kari Drost asked the commissioners on Aug. 2, 2022, during the public comment period of their meeting, whether steps had been taken to ensure that the results released on election day are accurate, in hopes of avoiding calling the race for the wrong candidate again. She noted that election integrity is one of the Republican Party’s primary legislative priorities, as well as one of its platform planks. 

“Therefore, the party has put lots of time, energy and resources into making sure our elections in Wyoming are free and fair, and that the people feel confident in our election results,” Drost said. “And, as you can see from the state and national events, movies, articles, etc. that the people have made this issue a priority as well. Personally, I want people to feel confident in election results and, most importantly, in our Weston County election results.” 

In response, Hadlock assured Drost and others in attendance that everything was “good to go.” She noted that what happened during the 2020 primary election was the mistake of an individual and that it would not happen again. 

“It happened and it has been taken care of.  . . . The secretary of state has steps to follow to make sure everything is good to go,” Hadlock said.

When asked about which specific steps had been taken, Hadlock said that all the tests had been run and sent to the secretary of state. No other specifics were given. 

Drost acknowledged that she had attended the “very informative” public meeting held by Hadlock to test the voting machines on July 29. 

“I learned a lot, and the meeting was very well attended. Clearly, this shows that the people of Weston County are concerned and engaged, and I thank Clerk Hadlock and her staff for taking the time to show the public what procedures are in place in Weston County,” Drost said. 

Drost later told the News Letter Journal that she was excited to see the people of Weston County holding officials to this level of accountability, reporting that a record number of people showed up to view the testing and signed up to be poll watchers. 

Poll watchers, she noted, are the first line of defense in a free and fair election. Drost explained that they are a part of a coordinated system to quickly detect, mitigate, and document unintentional and intentional election-related disruptions that arise during registration, voting and counting periods. The goal is to ensure a fair and open process where everyone who is legally entitled to vote has the opportunity to cast their one ballot and have it counted properly. 

“I am very confident that the peoples’ voices will be heard this election season. The people want an open and transparent government that is accountable to We the People,” Drost said. “I pray that that is exactly what we will get.”

News Letter Journal

News Letter Journal
14 W. Main St.
P.O. Box 40
Newcastle, WY 82701
Ph: (307) 746-2777
Fax: (307) 746-2660

Email Us