Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy


Chris Goodwin's pitch opens with the same question every time: “Are you a Colorado voter?”

He has been wandering the streets of Boulder, asking that question over and over. Many people say no or ignore him  until he brings up the f-word: fracking.

Public Domain


The question comes up every election year. Does my vote count? The answer sometimes depends on what race or issue you are voting on. Wyoming is a very Republican state, so if you are not part of the GOP it’s possible that your vote might mean very little, especially in the presidential race.

But even if you are Republican, Wyoming has a mere three electoral votes. Wyoming Public Radio intern Liam Niemeyer met up with Wyoming voters in Laramie recently and asked—does your vote count?

During an election season, people often doubt how much their votes count. But according to a new study by, voters in Wyoming have more influence than any other voters in the country. Spokesperson Jill Gonzalez says that’s because Wyoming has the lowest population of any state and rural states with low populations still have the same number of senators as other more urban states.

Voting begins in Wyoming

Sep 26, 2012

Early voting in Wyoming begins Thursday.  Since 1991, the state has allowed absentee voting without an excuse. 

People may register and in many instances they may vote in person at the County Courthouse or they can take their ballot home and return it.  State Elections Director Peggy Nighswonger says it’s very popular.

“People that are thinking they may be out of town, shift workers who it’s hard for them to get to the polls, the elderly, it’s just a convenience for a lot of people.”

In a new report from the Verified Voting Foundation, Wyoming earned a “good” status for the security of its voting process. The state scored well because it uses paper ballots, which provide hard-copy proof, and tally votes electronically. It also ranked high on accounting for ballots cast, and for its reception of ballots from voters overseas. But Wyoming scored poorly in the area of post-election audits, because the state doesn’t check the electronic count of ballots against hard copy samples.

The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by a Wyoming court, ordering Fremont County elections officials to implement a single-member elections system.

The decision is an attempt to remedy discrimination against American Indian voters.

In the past, Fremont county used an at-large system, wherevoters chose candidates for the entire county, rather than for smaller districts. That meant minority candidates didn’t have much of a chance. In contrast, a single-member system allows voters to choose candidates from their specific area.