by nathan oster
With highly competitive municipal races on the ballot, Lovell and Basin recorded some of the highest voter turnout percentages in Big Horn County in the Nov. 4 general election, according to figures provided by the clerk’s office.
Lovell and Basin both came in with 75-percent turnouts, which trailed only Hyattville’s 76 percent.
In Basin, 684 ballots were cast in a community of 864 registered voters. Lovell voters also hit the 75-percent mark, as 1,228 votes were cast from a community of 1,623 registered voters. Lovell had a 61-percent turnout for the primary in August, but saw an additional 253 votes cast in this election, which drove its increase in voter turnout.
Greybull and Shell were next in line. Greybull was credited with a 72-percent turnout for the general election, which was 1 percentage point higher than the 71-percent figure from the primary election in August. Sixty additional ballots were cast this time around in Greybull, which ended the day with 871 votes cast and 1,204 registered voters.
Shell also came in at 72 percent, with 219 votes cast out of 304 registered voters. Its turnout for the primary was 70 percent, also one of the highest in the county.
Otto had the lowest voter turnout, coming in at 62 percent.
Big Horn County’s voter turnout was set at 71 percent, as the county’s 5,903 registered voters cast 4,241 ballots in the Nov. 4 balloting. That represents an increase from the 65-percent turnout from the primary election.
BHC Clerk Lori Smallwood reported that 813 absentees ballots were sent out for the general election, and that 758 of them were returned and cast.
While the election went smoothly overall, there was a problem with the ballot-tabulating machine at the Lovell precinct, according to Smallwood. A diverter that was supposed to separate ballots with write-in votes became stuck, temporarily clogging the machine. The head election judge called in immediately and Smallwood talked her through the steps to get the problem rectified. While that was going on, voters were still able to feed their ballots into an emergency slot on the machine, so the impact on voters was minimal.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Max Maxfield released preliminary figures on Friday indicating that 170,925 Wyoming residents — 65 percent of those registered to vote — cast a ballot in the general election.