By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The Wyoming Senate on Thursday introduced legislation aimed at keeping voters from changing voter affiliation to affect the outcome of a primary election.
Senate File 97 was introduced Thursday and referred to the the Senate Corporations Committee. The majority of the Senate, 20 senators, voted to introduce the bill.
Current Wyoming law allows voters to change their party affiliations as late as the day of a primary or general election.
If SF97 is signed into law, it would specify that people wishing to change party affiliation would have to do so about three months prior to a primary election or between the primary and general elections.
“It’s another election integrity bill aimed at restoring integrity to the primary election process,” sponsor Sen. Bo Biteman, R-Ranchester, said during his testimony in support of the bill. “I think it’s important that people feel confident that their vote is not going to get canceled out.”
Former President Donald Trump endorsed the bill on Thursday, praising Biteman as a patriot for co-sponsoring it.
“The Wyoming State Senate is considering SF0097, introduced by Patriot Senator Bo Biteman, to protect the integrity of Wyoming primary elections,” Trump said.
“This critically important bill ensures that the voters in each party will separately choose their nominees for the General Election, which is how it should be! It makes total sense that only Democrats vote in the Democrat primary and only Republicans vote in the Republican primary,” he said. “This bill has my Complete and Total Endorsement and Support. Every Member of the Wyoming Senate should vote for SF0097. Thank you!”
While Biteman did not return Cowboy State Daily’s request for more information about the bill on Wednesday, he did say in a statement that the practice of “crossover voting” had been going on for too long in Wyoming.
“It is not fair, it is not right, and it is harming the integrity of our party nomination process,” Biteman said Wednesday.
“This bill will go a long way toward ending this up to now legal, but unethical behavior, and restore confidence in our party nominating process. Party switching cancels out the vote of actual party members by those who wish to game the system and influence the outcome of their competing party’s nominating election.”
The bill would immediately go into effect after being signed into law, which could mean that the numbers for the August primary election are affected.