It’s Election Day across Teton County

Housing, abortion rights and SPET measures are driving locals to vote in Jackson and throughout Teton County.
Teton County Library is one of five polling places in the county. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. (Hanna Merzbach/KHOL)

A line stretched out the door this morning at 8 a.m. at Teton County Library, as residents hastened to vote on Election Day.

The library is one of five polling places in the county that are open until 7 p.m.

“I love voting in person, even if you have to stand in line,” said Chris Staron, a local school bus driver and improv comedian.

Staron was one of many voters who listed housing as a top issue this election season. He was excited to support housing for Teton County School District employees — just one of the numerous housing projects that could be funded through the Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET).

“[Housing is] so hard to afford for a school bus driver,” Staron said. 

As a bus driver for the Teton County School District, Chris Staron was exited to support school employee housing in this election. (Hanna Merzbach/KHOL)

Longtime Jackson resident Pat Snyder, on the other hand, was more skeptical of the 15 SPET measures on the ballot. She wanted to stay on top of where local tax dollars are going.

“I think, a lot of the time, they’re way over done,” Snyder said. “You know, we all want a piece of the pie.”

Voting for SPET measures doesn’t add any new tax, but instead offers voters a chance to decide how local sales tax revenue is being spent. While waiting in line to vote, Snyder said she would support at least some of the measures, though she had yet to make final decisions.

“I’ve got a pretty good idea of the way I’m going to vote, but until I get the pencil in my hand, I’m never quite sure,” she said.

Many voters cited civic duty as their primary driver for coming out and voting, with some national debates on their minds as well. Beau Brown, a snowboard instructor at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, cited abortion rights as motivating him to vote.

This comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade and left it to states to rule on abortion rights. In Wyoming, abortions are still legal due to an injunction that prevents the state’s trigger ban from going into effect, though abortion rights could become more restricted by a Republican-controlled state legislature.

That’s why Brown was especially motivated to vote for state candidates who support reproductive freedoms.

“Basically, equality and basic human rights — that’s the way I vote,” he said.

A team of election workers are spread out throughout the county to ensure the election runs smoothly. One of the workers at the library, Heather Pertel, has worked every election since moving to Wyoming three years ago. She hopes to be a friendly face for people turning in their ballots.

“I think that at the end of the day, everyone’s opinion needs to matter, and so having the opportunity to vote and vote in a safe and fair election is just excruciatingly important,” Pertel said. “So the easier we can make it for people to come out and vote, the better.”

Polls are open until 7 p.m. today at Teton County Library, Teton County/Jackson Rec Center, the Old Wilson Schoolhouse, the Teton County Weed & Pest building and the Alta Branch Library.

Wyoming requires voters to show an I.D. in order to vote. Accepted forms of identification include a driver’s license from any state, a passport, a Medicare/Medicaid card or a tribal I.D. 

Residents can also still register to vote at any polling place today with a valid I.D.

Results will be released live to the public tonight at the Commissioners Chambers on South Willow Street after polls close at 7 p.m. They will also be available on the county’s website. 

Visit 891khol.org for live updates throughout the day.

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