(Lander, Wyo.) – Fremont County Clerk Julie Freese said the shuttered Riverton Clerks annex at the county complex next to the fairgrounds will be opened for absentee voting starting August 6th through August 20th from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. She made that announcement at Tuesday’s county commission meeting. She said the Riverton annex would also be open for two weeks prior to the General Election in November.
The satellite office was closed one year ago when County Treasurer Scott Harnsberger said he would no longer do treasurer’s business there citing efficiency concerns due to duplication of effort. Without the clerk’s staff handling the Treasurer’s business there, Freese at the time said there was no good reason to keep the office open.
“The County Clerk’s Annex office has been open as long as I can remember having been started by County Treasurer Lew Lee. This office has reduced services over time, but the first time I ran for office, I made it clear that in a County this size, the annex office in Riverton was one of my priorities to keep open for the citizens of this County,” Freese said on July 3, 2017. “I realize that the County Seat is in Lander, but I also know with our large County, having satellite services on the other side of the County is needed. I have paid for this office ENTIRELY by the County Clerk’s budget because the Treasurer wasn’t supportive of the office, although he allowed me to continue this work until now.”
Freese reiterated her position Tuesday in an emailed letter to County10.com, “In the 2018-19 budget, I still have the money to open that office, I just need to be able to justify having it open based on what I can do there. Both candidates for Treasurer have mentioned bringing back the Treasurer services which will allow me to re-open it with (at the very least) doing what we use to do in that office,” she wrote. “Anything they are offering to do more than that may require them to ask for support from the commissioners if any more money is needed. So yes, it’s important to ask your candidates for commissioner … ask them all… about how they will vote to support the Riverton Office.”
Freese also suggested that similar questions be posed to the two candidates for Treasurer. “I’m optimistic that the Riverton Clerk’s Office will reopen in 2019 as this was not and is not a funding issue,” she wrote. “It would take no more money to revive what I was already doing. Who knows, it might even be better.”
Freese noted that the commissioners knew the value of having the Riverton satellite office, and allowed her to keep the space in the annex building, with all of the clerk’s equipment there, so it could be reopened. “That’s saying a lot to keep putting money into a building with only one other office in it at this time,” she said.
Read earlier reporting on the issue: