All three members of Wyoming’s congressional delegation said they recognized the result of Monday’s Electoral College vote, hours after it sealed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump on Monday.
A typically uncontroversial event, this year’s Electoral College vote was made significant by the president’s refusal to concede the election to Biden, who won both the popular vote and the Electoral College, which is responsible for selecting the president.
While none of the delegation mentioned Biden by name, both of Wyoming’s representatives in the U.S. Senate — John Barrasso and Mike Enzi — as well as Rep. Liz Cheney said they would respect the final result.
Like many of his Republican colleagues in the Senate, Barrasso — a close ally of the president — had yet to expressly state that Trump had lost his bid for reelection, despite hinting heavily at the possibility of a Democratic presidential administration ahead of next month’s runoff in Georgia, which will decide control of the Senate.
Barrasso told reporters Monday evening on Capitol Hill that the transition to a Biden administration had already begun weeks ago and that a press inquiry about whether he considered Biden the president-elect was a “gotcha question,” per Politico reporter Burgess Everett.
“I was proud to join thousands of people in Wyoming in voting for President Trump. I believe he’s the leader our country needs. I also respect the result of the Electoral College vote today,” Barrasso said in a statement to the Star-Tribune on Monday night. “This result makes it all the more important that Republicans hold the Senate in January. The Senate is the last line of defense in protecting our freedoms and way of life in Wyoming.”
Cheney — who recently called on the president to provide evidence to back up his allegations of election fraud or respect the result — mirrored both of those statements, saying in her own statement to the Star-Tribune that upholding the peaceful transfer of power “is a core part of our constitutional obligation.”
“While none of us were happy with the outcome of the election, I join Senators Barrasso and Enzi in recognizing the vote of the electoral college today,” she said. "Upholding the peaceful transfer of power is a core part of our constitutional obligation. We must ensure Republicans hold the Senate and focus on the crucial work ahead to defend Wyoming freedom and our way of life."
Enzi — who is retiring from the Senate — also stressed the need to respect the final result, saying he was “hopeful the next administration and members of Congress will work together in order to deliver real solutions and progress that the American people want and deserve.”
Enzi’s successor, Sen.-elect Cynthia Lummis, was in Georgia on Monday night and could not immediately be reached for comment. She recently said in an interview that Trump should not concede the election and was supportive of his efforts to challenge the accuracy of the final margins in swing states like Pennsylvania. To date, none of those challenges have had any bearing on the final result. More than 50 courts — including the U.S. Supreme Court — have ruled against the president’s campaign and his allies.
Wyoming electors certify vote
Thousands of miles from Washington, Wyoming’s three representatives in the Electoral College officially cast their votes for Trump on Monday, certifying the president’s landslide victory in one of his most supportive states.
Though some states do not bind their electors to support one candidate or another, Wyoming’s electors are required by law to pledge their votes to the winner of the state’s popular vote. In this case, that was Trump, who won the state by more than 40 points.
Representing Wyoming in the vote were Uinta County Republican Party Chairman Karl Allred, the Wyoming Republican Party’s outgoing national committeewoman Marti Halverson and Doug Chamberlain, a longtime Republican lawmaker and former treasurer for the state party.
While the results of the vote were never in question in Wyoming, Biden’s close victories in battleground states such as Georgia, along with the president’s repeated allegations of a rigged election, have sparked an outpouring of conservative activism to challenge the result. The president has not offered evidence to back up his claims of widespread fraud.
For several weeks, a handful of demonstrators have made regular appearances on the steps of the Wyoming Capitol protesting the results of the election, supporting so far unfounded claims that the election was stolen by the Democrats.
Republican lawmakers in Wyoming have been largely supportive of efforts to investigate the result of the election, with several stating that while they did not seek to overturn the results, they did want to ensure the integrity of the election process in those states.
Last week, 32 current and incoming state lawmakers — including incoming Senate President Dan Dockstader as well as several members of leadership — sent a letter to Gov. Mark Gordon urging him to sign on to a lawsuit by the state of Texas seeking to challenge four states’ results. Those efforts have since been condemned by groups like the Equality State Policy Center, which described the lawmakers’ letter as a tacit endorsement of a misinformation campaign by the president to undermine the electoral process in an op-ed over the weekend.
Gordon — who was initially reluctant to acknowledge Biden’s win — ultimately declined to join that suit, which was dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A smooth local election
In a brief public signing event at the Wyoming Capitol, Gordon — who like the three electors and Secretary of State Ed Buchanan was not wearing face coverings — said he was “very proud of the way Wyoming has conducted her affairs” and that he was “satisfied with the results of our election in Wyoming.”
Buchanan also lauded the integrity of the state’s elections, while each of the electors commented on the historic nature of the day’s signing. Allred, who also served as an elector in the 2016 election, said that this year offered a “marked difference” to his previous experience in the position, in which he said he was “inundated” with calls to change his vote from Trump.
The Wyoming ACLU, meanwhile, released a statement Monday calling for the abolition of the electoral college, saying it only serves to disenfranchise voters in more densely populated areas. Voters in less populous states like Wyoming, the group argued, are disproportionately represented in the results by a rate of more than 3 to 1, when compared to the popular vote.
“The Electoral College thwarts the fundamental principle of one person, one vote,” Antonio Serrano, advocacy manager for the Wyoming ACLU, said in a statement. “Adopting a national popular vote will help begin to dismantle the racial, ethnic and geographic disparities in voting power, furthering our core principles of democracy and giving all of us equal power in presidential elections. Instead of voters in a few swing states deciding the outcome, candidates will need to speak to – and listen to – all citizens throughout the country equally. Even if we can’t agree on results if a particular election, we should all be ready to agree on principle that our president should be chosen, like all of our other elected officials, by the straightforward popular vote.”