Right to life hosts townhall

‘Gray talks voting updates’

Jess Oaks
Posted 4/12/24

TORRINGTON – A townhall style meeting was held Tuesday evening at the Lincoln Community Complex at 6 p.m.

Jan Long, Goshen County Right to Life President welcomed community members in …

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Right to life hosts townhall

‘Gray talks voting updates’


TORRINGTON – A townhall style meeting was held Tuesday evening at the Lincoln Community Complex at 6 p.m.

Jan Long, Goshen County Right to Life President welcomed community members in attendance, a short prayer was given followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

“The gameplan tonight is a question-and-answer session and we have Cheri Steinmetz and Chuck Gray and Allen Slagle and Scott Smith. So, any questions that you might have, they will be glad to hear from you and to answer,” Long explained. 

Secretary of State Chuck Gray gave a brief presentation during the meeting.

“Before serving as Secretary of State, I was a legislator representing portions of east Casper. We worked a lot on the life issue,” Gray said. “At that time, when I entered in 2017, there hadn’t been a pro-life bill passed in 30 years.”

Gray explained after taking office, he filed house bill 137, the ultrasound requirement bill, which set off a ‘wave of pro-life legislation.’

Then Gray gave a synopsis of how Wyoming has migrated through the Roe v. Wade overturn.

“When Row v. Wade was overturned, the pro-death forces were really flat-footed because we had a statute already on the books that would state that abortion was going to be banned in Wyoming,” Gray said. 

Gray spoke about legislation requesting abortion clinics and any individual performing abortions needs to have admitting privileges in a hospital. 

“It’s very reasonable. States across the county have this,” Gray said. “It went through the legislature and then the governor vetoed it in his string of vetoes. His veto on the property tax bill which would have given a 25% exemption to all Wyomingites who qualified. His veto of the pro-gun bill which would have banned “gun-free zones” in numerous settings, including here (the Lincoln Complex) and I saw the sign coming in,” he continued. “Does anybody feel secure now that we can’t carry in here? I certainly don’t. It makes us a soft target.”

“That’s a little bit of the session in terms of the life work. I am the Secretary of State [and in my] role there’s a number of things that come across our desk and if I could just quickly speak to a couple,” Gray said. “One is elections and that really gets a lot of the attention is our work on election integrity. I am a big believer in election integrity.”

Gray spoke on the party declaration deadline bill, which bans cross-over voting, noting the deadline for party affiliation declaration or change for registered voters is May 15.

“I will say, absent the vetoes, this was the most conservative session the ‘24 session since I’ve been involved which has been since 2017,” Gray said. “By far, usually we get one or two, I’d say landmark conservative bills through but this year I’d say six. The governor vetoed four or five of them, so we ended up in the same place but in terms of the legislative work it was the most conservative I’ve seen since I’ve been involved.” 

Gray mentioned the early voting period was also shortened because of this session, from 45 days to 28 days before the election.

“[We] really want to move more towards voting on the election day, which of course the left and the media has tried to move us off of,” Gray said. “We were tied for the longest early voting period in the nation and in the ’23 session we cut that to 28 days so it’s a little over two weeks, two and a half weeks that are cut off on that period. I think that’s really good from an election integrity perspective. It’s going to encourage individuals to interact with the election process for a longer period of time which I can only think is a good thing. I think it also encourages voting on the day of election,” he continued.

Gray mentioned the governor is to issue a decision by Friday, April 12 regarding a rulemaking saying ‘If you are registering to vote, you need to provide proof you are a Wyomingite.’ 

“It’s a measure to ensure that Wyomingites vote in Wyoming,” Gray said. “Only Wyomingites are able to vote in Wyoming elections. Not nonresidents, not illegal aliens and I think in the environment we are in here, in 2024, with the open border it’s very important.”

“Now it’s on the governor’s desk. He has 15 days from when that memo was issued from the management council to make a decision, which on our count is Friday and we are going to have a meeting with him tomorrow (Wednesday),” Gray explained. “We are very hopeful that it’s going to go through,” Gray said. “The governor has until Friday to make a decision.”

Gray mentioned his effort to keep Trump on the 2024 electoral ballot, including the numerous lawsuits filed by Tim Newcomb to prevent Trump from being listed as a candidate for the upcoming presidential election. 

“I’m going to try to get some accountability on this individual because he’s abusing the legal system. This is abuse of process,” Gray said. 

Gray then addressed the Amicus Curiae brief which was filed by Gray and other constituents urging the Colorado Supreme Court to keep Trump on the ballot. 

“I was the only secretary of the state in the nation to file an Amicus [Curiae] brief explicitly siding with President Trump’s arguments there. Took a lot of heat from the media on that but it was the right thing to do,” Gray explained. 

“Chuck gave you a pretty good legislative overview. One of the things I want to say is we have a great team here in Goshen County. I want to thank Scott (Smith) and Allen (Slagle),” Wyoming State Senator, Cheri Steinmetz said. “They have done a tremendous job representing you here. They are a joy to work with and we don’t really often have to ask each other if we are on the same page. We seem to always be on the same page. I really appreciate that,” she continued. 

Steinmetz stressed how having a good team to work with during the legislative session is important because it takes a team to accomplish a common goal. 

“This year was a challenge,” Steinmetz said. “As you know, we tried to get back into a special session and we weren’t able to do so. We had 16 folks that voted for it in the senate, but we couldn’t get a majority in the house unfortunately to override the governor’s vetoes. The reason that is important is we abrogated our authority. We came home. We didn’t finish our job and we said, ‘Oh we’re just going to let the governor legislate by veto,’ and that’s what we did,” Steinmetz added.

Steinmetz expressed scheduling conflicts are common which means it is more difficult to work through each issue during the session. She also expressed her dissatisfaction with Wyoming Governor Gordon, stating during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gordon was forced to act without guidance.

“Unfortunately, during Covid, this governor got into some bad habits,” Steinmetz said. “He thinks he runs the state alone right now, so we need to curb those bad habits and the longer we wait to do so the worse it is going to get.”

The meeting continued with a brief discussion by representatives Scott Smith and Allen Slagle followed by a public question and answer period.