Story By: Spencer Porden
During the ongoing Wyoming legislative sessions last week, several members of the all-republican Senate Corporations Committee voiced concerns about the “voter registration” bill that is up for vote in the legislature this session. The bill would prevent voters from changing their party affiliation within the weeks before the primary elections, which aims to prevent one party influencing the opposite party’s primary election, which republicans have complained about in recent years. Republican officials have stated that addressing the issue is one of the top priorities of the session.
Republicans in the committee recently raised concerns that Wyoming would lose exemption from the “motor-voter” act, a federal act that requires states to allow citizens to register to vote at the DMV when applying for a driver’s license, or when applying for public assistance. Wyoming is one of six states exempt from the federal act because it allows voters to register at the polls.
Republican Senator Bo Biteman of Ranchester, who is a co-sponsor of the bill, said that after some research, it was determined that Wyoming would not lose its exemption.
Biteman added that the issue is not a one-sided problem, as several other states which normally “vote blue” have passed similar legislation.
According to Biteman, voters would have until mid-May of each election year to switch parties, and would be “locked out” from switching until after the primary election.
Biteman said that citizens are encouraged to call or email their state elected officials and express their opinions on the legislation. The committee will continue discussing the bill on Tuesday.