Wyoming Bill To Ban Crossover Voting Again Dies In Legislature
The latest effort to keep people from crossover voting in Wyoming Primary elections is dead for this session of the Wyoming Legislature.
Senate File 97 on Tuesday was not considered by the House Committee of the Whole, missing the deadline for such votes and killing the bill for this session. The measure had previously passed the Wyoming Senate.
Supporters of such legislation--primarily Republicans who are concerned about Democrats affecting the outcome of GOP Primary elections--have been trying for years to get legislation passed to prevent people from changing parties to vote in primary elections.
Such legislation originally grew out of frustration on the part of some conservative Republicans with the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary. In that election, then-Treasuerer Mark Gordon, widely view as the most moderate candidate, outpolled several candidates considered to be politically to his right.
Gordon captured 33 percent of the vote, and supporters of arch-conservative Foster Friess--who got 26 percent--and some of the other candidates felt Gordon's victory with far less than 50 percent of the vote was fueled by Democrats who registered to vote in the GOP primary.
But the issue of crossover voting has taken on new life because opponents of incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney are concerned that Democrats may propel her to victory in the August GOP primary over several other candidates.
Cheney, who is an arch-enemy of former President Donald Trump, has been targeted for defeat by Trump supporters, and Trump himself had urged Wyoming to pass a crossover voting bill. Trump has endorsed Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman for the seat. Conservative firebrand State Sen. Anthony Bouchard of Cheyenne has also been acitvely campaining for the seat.
But the failure of Senate File 97 means that people can still change parties on election day or anytime prior to that to vote in the primary election of their choice. Supporters of banning crossover voting have generally said it interferes with ther rights of politcal parties to choose their candidates free from the influence of non-part members. Opponents have typically argued that such legislation deprives voters of the right to vote for the candidate of their choice.
That was especially true of Senate File 97, which would have banned party-switching from the period prior to when candidates file for office in May right up until the primary, meaning voters could not register for the other party to vote for a particular candidate whom they support after seeing who had filed for the primary election.
Some other proposed bills in the Wyoming Legislature over the years aimed at crossover voting have proposed shorter restrictions on changing registration, giving voters time to consider changing parties in support of a particular candidate.