Primary Day Party Changes May Soon Not Be Allowed

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CASPER, Wyo. State senators passed a bill instituting a deadline for party switching.

The deadline would be two weeks before absentee ballots are distributed.

“In the last few elections we’ve seen people from one party crossing over to purposely influence the outcome of another party’s election and this aims to protect the integrity of the primary election process.” Said Senator Bo Biteman of Sheridan.

However, opponents say the current system works for voters.

“It allows voters to try and pick which ballot is most important to them based on the races that are on there, who they support, whom they know, all of those types of things and make that judgment on election day.” Said Senator Chris Rothfuss of Albany.

Rothfuss fears closing primaries will lead to more extreme candidates and hyper-partisanship.

“With more control by the parties themselves of the choice of the candidates, there’s less room for those moderate candidates that represent really the most people in the State of Wyoming to succeed.” He said.

Biteman says grassroots activist lost their say in recent elections under the current system.

“A lot of people felt like their votes didn’t count and their votes kind of got diluted from people that were voting outside the party coming in and basically canceling out their votes.”

The proposed changes would not affect voter registering for the first time in Wyoming on a primary day.