January 28, 2022 |
The question of whether the state lawmaker who has presided over redistricting Wyoming’s voting districts for the last year is even eligible to hold a seat in the legislature has turned into a legal hot potato.
The legal question belongs in the “Where’s Waldo” category. Yesterday, the Secretary of State declined to explore allegations that Representative Dan Zwonitzer moved last year to a residence outside of his House District. Instead, Ed Buchannan referred the matter to House Speaker Eric Barlow, saying in a letter that the matter is out of his office’s legal purview.
The state Republican Party raised allegations recently that one of its own Zwonitzer, who is a Republican, one of its own members, no longer resides in his district. If true, Zwonitzer would be no longer eligible to serve in the House. During debate over whether to file a complaint with Uinta County committeeman Karl Allred said the documents suggest that Zwonitzer not only lives outside House District 43 in Cheyenne, but is using his position as co-chair of the corporations committee to gerrymander his new residence back into the district.
Pictured above: Representative Dan Zwonitzer. Photo courtesy Wyoming Legislature.
Carbon County Chair Joey Correnti who made the original motion to notify the Secretary of State of the concerns, attempted to reel back in some of the rhetoric, including the term “evidence,” that occurred during discussion
The committee approved the motion. The documents sent to the Secretary of State included property records and voting rolls with addresses. In printed reports, Zwonitzer has denied the allegations. He told Wyofile that he bought a farm outside his district in 2021, but primarily lives with his children and husband in an apartment complex within HD 43. He characterized the complaint as a “political hit.”
The letter the Secretary of State sent to House Speaker Eric Barlow, states that pursuant to Article 3 Section 10 of the Wyoming Constitution, the House of Representatives is vested with the power to judge the “qualifications of its members.” As such, Buchannan said he was turning over any investigation and resulting resolution to the presiding officer of the House of Representatives.
Related: HD 47 remains intact, for the moment