Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and the stakes are high in Teton County, with races for town council, the board of county commissioners and local legislative districts on the ballot.
Teton County Clerk Maureen Murphy came into the KHOL studio to tell us everything we need to know about voting in this year’s election.
Listen above for more and check out a transcript of the interview below. This conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.
HANNA MERZBACH/KHOL: What do voters need to know about voting early and turning in their ballots before Election Day?
MAUREEN MURPHY: If you do have an absentee ballot, it’s too late to mail it in. You can drop it off at the Teton County Administration Building or in the ballot box, which is in front of the building at 200 South Willow Street. We will not be accepting any absentee ballots at any of the polling places on Election Day, so you do have to drop that off at the admin building by 7 p.m.
KHOL: On Election Day, where are the different places people can vote?
MURPHY: Tuesday, on Election Day, there are five polling locations. One is the Teton County Library. One is the Teton County/Jackson Recreation Center. Another is the Old Wilson Schoolhouse in Wilson. And then we have the Teton County Weed and Pest Building south of town and the Alta Library. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
KHOL: When people come in to vote, what will the election officials ask for?
MURPHY: Two years ago, the state legislature passed a voter I.D. bill, so you are required to show an I.D. now when you’re at the polls. You can show many forms of I.D.: your driver’s license, even if it’s out of state, a passport, a student I.D., Medicare/Medicaid cards, or a tribal I.D. Then, you will be asked for verification of your address and then verification of your party.
KHOL: You can still register to vote in Teton County. What do voters need to know about this?
MURPHY: If you vote in the admin office before Election Day, you will be required to vote if you register at that time. We are within a 14-day period by statute that says that if you register to vote within that period, you must vote at that time. Come in, register, vote then, or wait till Election Day and you can register to vote that day at all polling locations.
KHOL: Skipping forward to election night, when will results be available?
MURPHY: Our absentee ballot room closes first, so we can close those machines down at 7 p.m. and run the tapes. Granted, in 2020, those machines had a lot of ballots in them. They each had 6,000, so it took a while to run the tape and get all the results out of those. But, for the primary, we started showing results at 7:45 p.m. from certain locations. It does take a while to get our results back from Alta because they do have to drive them back over, but I believe we were done by 9:30 p.m. for the primary. We’ll see how the weather holds and how the roads are on Tuesday night. Fingers crossed that those get back here smoothly and safely, but hopefully by 10 p.m. we’ll have all the unofficial final results.
KHOL: On a broader note, we’ve seen a lot of conspiracy theories surface after the 2020 elections. I’m wondering how this has impacted how you’re running this year’s election.
MURPHY: I work very closely with the other 22 county clerks, and I’m very confident in Wyoming elections and everything we do. A lot of states may have changed protocols and processes, but we have not. We have always had a really strong chain of custody. We have check-offs on everything. I mean, we have checklists on checklists. We always have three people doing anything that is dealing with the election. We’re just paying really close attention and just keeping the same protocols in place. There is a lot of scrutiny around elections across the country. So, of course, we’re all looking a little closer, but as far as protocols and processes, we’re just going to keep the line as we always have.
KHOL: Is there anything else that voters should know about the upcoming election?
MURPHY: I just encourage everybody to get out there and vote in this county. Just in my 14 years in the county, I’ve seen races come down to 30 votes. And so your vote really does matter, even if you think it doesn’t. And, this ballot has a lot of different local impacts that can really affect what’s happening — anything from our state races to our county commissioners to our town council to our hospital and school board and all of the SPET measures and judges and other tax measures. There’s just so many things that you really can have an impact on. And I encourage everyone to use your voice and get out there and vote for what you believe.
More information is available on Teton County’s website.