An all-Republican Wyoming legislative committee defeated a GOP-backed bill Tuesday that would have prevented voters from changing party affiliation in the months before a primary, but the panel advanced a Democrat’s proposal to institute ranked-choice voting. The party-affiliation bill sought to discourage people from switching parties in order to vote in another party’s primary. Republicans in Wyoming increasingly complain that Democratic crossover unfairly influences Wyoming’s GOP primaries. All five members of the Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee — all of whom are Republicans — opposed or had reservations about the change, however. “I can’t find hardly anybody in my district who sees this as an issue. In fact, quite the opposite,” said Sen. Bill Landen, R-Casper, the committee chairman.
Similar legislation has failed in years past. This year’s bill got more support after Republican national mega-donor Foster Friess finished second in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary and blamed the outcome on Democrats identifying as Republicans.
Voter registration statistics show it’s unlikely that Democrats voting as Republicans gave the six-way GOP primary win to Mark Gordon, who is now governor after winning in November.