UPDATE: Mea Culpa: Natrona County Clerk Apologizes For Wrong Polling Place Information
The Natrona County Clerk's Office made a huge mistake when it sent out notices this past week announcing new polling places for those living in Casper, County Clerk Renea Vitto said Monday.
"My profound apologies to everyone," Vitto said.
"This is such an inconvenience," she said. "It's bad enough that I have moved their polling places because of so many issues with the school, and now the notices that their polling places changed got messed up."
This past week, voters within the Casper city limits received bright orange cards in the mail saying that they all would be voting during their party's primaries Aug. 16 at the Fairgrounds Industrial Building 1700 Fairgrounds Road if they lived in Wards I and II, or at the Restoration Church, 411 S. Walsh Drive, if they lived in Ward III.
That's wrong, Vitto said. "Not everyone is affected."
The polling place changes applied only to those voters who cast ballots in the public elementary schools, the Seventh-day Adventist Church school, and Shepherd of the Valley assisted living center, she said.
Voters at seven other polling places within city limits are not affected and will vote where they have in the past:
- Ward I -- Natrona County Library, 307 E. Second St.; The Senior Center, 1831 E. Fourth St.; and Casper College.
- Ward II -- Bethel Baptist Church, 3030 S. Poplar St.; and the Shrine Club, 1501 W. 39th St.
- Ward III -- Community Health Center of Casper, 5000 Blackmore Road; and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 2300 E. 15th St.
Tuesday, Vitto updated the information:
It appears there were approximately 6500 voters notified in error. In gathering voter information (names and addresses by precinct) of those whose polling locations did change, it somehow included everyone in the Wards, making it appear as though there would be only 2 polling places available. Revised notifications will be sent out by the end of this week notifying voters who vote at the Library, Casper College, Senior Center, Shrine Club, Bethel Baptist Church, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and Community Health of Casper that their polling place remains unchanged. Only voters who voted in schools within city limits and Shepherd of the Valley Care Center will be voting in a new location in Wards 1, 2, and 3.
In March, Vitto proposed consolidating polling places in response to complaints over the years mostly at the Natrona County School District's elementary schools. Those problems included lack of parking, construction, lack of access required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and safety issues with possible lockdowns during emergencies.
The Natrona County Commission approved Vitto's decision.
Vitto takes responsibility for the error because her office sent the wrong information to the printer of the orange cards. Her office spent about $6,400 for the first, erroneous mailing.
"We are frantically trying to get out corrected notices to everyone," she said. "And those will not be orange, they will be kind of a lime green. So please don't throw them away."
AMBI Mail and Marketing is working with the Clerk's Office to mitigate some of the costs for the next mailing, Vitto said.
The County Clerk's Office will continue to encourage absentee voting at the old courthouse.
There are no polling place changes for those who live outside Casper City limits.
Residents can find more information at the County Clerk's website.