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Frequently Asked Questions – Nov. 8 Laramie Ward Election
Q: Who started this petition to change the current seven wards in Laramie? The Laramie League of Women Voters initiated the petition drive and gathered the required 900+ signatures in June and July 2011.
Q: Did the LWV also promote the petition that was successful in 2010 that led to seven wards? No, the LWV had no position then and did not promote it. That petition drive was led by the late Will Worthy, who had recently moved to Laramie from Casper, where he was used to the ward system.
Q: What was wrong with the previous all at-large system that got changed in the 2000 election? The neighborhoods to the west tended to get ignored.
Q: What is wrong with the current seven ward system? With seven wards, there are roughly 1,200 registered voters per ward. That pool of potential candidates is too small to assure that there will be several good candidates for voters to pick from. Since the 7-ward system went into effect in 2002, there have been five ward primary elections with only one candidate listed, and 8 wards that had only 2 candidates in the primary. So there have been a total of 13 ward primary elections where there has been no contest.
Q: If I want three wards, how can I decide which is best of the two three ward systems proposed? The main difference is that in one, everyone is elected from a ward; the other includes three at large candidates, who typically must spend five times as much money to win an election than those in wards. With three at large plus two from a ward, it is possible for 5 Council members to be from the same neighborhood and form a majority.
Q: Who draws up the ward boundaries? State law mandates that the current nine city council members plus nine non-council members named in the petition be the boundary committee of 18 members. They draw the boundaries after the election results are certified. The city council members are: Klaus Hanson, Roger McKinley, Erik Molvar, Lee Kempert, Scott Mullner, Joe Shumway, Karl McCraken, Joe Vitale and Dave Paulekas. The nine petitioners are: Don Brosz, Stacy Madden, Mike Massie, E.G. Meyer, Sonya Moore, Nick Murdock, Barbara Naughton, Rachel Rubino and Susan Simpson.
Q: What guarantee is there that the wards will respect neighborhoods? There’s no guarantee, but that’s why there are 18 people on the committee – they will have to compromise. They are from all parts of Laramie.
Q: Why couldn’t this wait for the next general election? The League tried to conduct the petition drive in 2010 but learned that the election would have been a few days too soon to meet the 10 year minimum time limit.
Q: Why does the ballot use the term “councilmen” for this election? That’s the term the state statute governing this kind of election uses. LWV will be urging legislators to change that.
Q: What is the LWV’s interest in this issue and election? The League is a non-partisan political organization that may take a stand on issues that it has studied and reached member consensus upon. The League never takes a stand on candidates. In monitoring Council elections, LWV noticed a drop-off in candidates filing for office with the seven ward system, which led to the study and consensus that a three ward system would be preferable.
Q: Who pays for this election and what does it cost? The City of Laramie pays, and has contracted with the County Clerk to run the election. Total cost is estimated to by slightly less than $8,000. There will be one ballot, one polling place (Laramie Recreation Center) and there will be provisions for voting absentee.
Q: How many Wyoming communities have ward systems? At least 17 Wyoming towns have wards. Most have three, including Casper, Cheyenne, Gillette, Sheridan and Rawlins. One has 4 wards (Rock Springs), and Laramie has 7.
Q: Where can I learn more? The LWV and the Albany County Public Library are sponsoring 2 public panel discussions on this topic, one is 7 p.m. Wednesday October 12 at the ACPL, the other is Saturday, October 22 at 10 a.m. at the West Laramie Fire Station. Also search http//:wyominglwv.org for more information.
Voting on the Laramie City Council Ward System: Information for November 8, 2011
Q: Where do I go to vote? All qualified voters living within the Laramie City limits vote at the Laramie Community Recreation Center, 920 Boulder Drive (on the south at the end of east Garfield Street).
Q: What time? 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8, 2011.
Q: Can I vote absentee before November 8? Yes. Go to the Albany County Clerk's Office, room 202 in the Courthouse between September 29 and November 7 to request a ballot. If you are not registered, you may register and vote at the same time.
Q: Can I vote by mail? Yes. If you are registered, call the Albany County Clerk at 721-2546 to request that an absentee ballot be mailed to you after September 29 when the ballots become available.
Q: Do absentee ballots "count" as much as the others? Yes, absolutely. All ballots count.
Q: How do I know if I am registered and/or entitled to vote in this election? Call the County Clerk's Office at 721-2546.
Q: How do I register? If you are a citizen of the United States who lives in Laramie, if you will be at least 18 on election day, if you have not been adjudicated mentally incompetent, and if you have not been convicted of a felony , or if you have had your voting rights restored, you can register in person at the Courthouse (525 E. Grand Avenue) between now and November 7. You can also register at the Recreation Center on November 8. The Courthouse is open weekdays, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Bring your Wyoming driver's license. If you do not have a driver's license, call or check this website for other acceptable ID types: http://soswy.state.wy.us/elections/registeringtovote.aspx
Q: Where can I find out more information and what the ballot wording will be? The wording of the ballot is listed below. Please note, this is not an actual ballot. To vote in the November 8, 2011 election, please either file for an absentee ballot with the Albany County Clerk's office or vote between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, at the Laramie Community Recreation Center.
LARAMIE, WYOMING TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2011
INSTRUCTIONS TO VOTERS: To vote, complete the oval to the RIGHT of your choice, like this ()
SELECTION METHOD FOR MEMBERS OF Laramie CITY COUNCIL
Vote Yes on ONE proposition only
1. Shall the City adopt an election system of electing all nine (9) councilmen
at large? YES ( ) NO ( )
2. Shall the City adopt an election ward system of three (3) wards
with three (3) councilmen elected from each ward? YES ( ) NO ( )
3. Shall the City elect councilmen using one of the following combinations
of wards and at large?
a. Shall the City retain the present election ward/at large system of
seven (7) wards with one councilman elected from each ward and
two councilmen elected at large? (Current method) YES ( ) NO ( )
b. Shall the City adopt an election ward/at large system of three (3)
wards with two (2) councilmen elected from each ward and three (3)
councilmen elected at large? YES ( ) NO ( )