By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
Tuesday primary election statistics appear to show huge numbers of Democrats “crossed over” to vote Republican in the primary. It’s a contest that stands out from past elections.
From January 1 to Aug. 16 – the date of the election – the Republican party gained 19,016 registered voters, while the Wyoming registry as a whole gained just 6,273. That’s an internal shift of 12,743 voters into the Republican party.
The crossover became more intense as the election grew near: the Republican rolls gained 7,521 voters in the first two weeks of August, whereas Wyoming’s total registry grew by just 2,457 voters.
In the same timeframe, Democratic registration dropped by 1.3% of the whole, or 3,350 voters. Unaffiliated voter presence dropped by 0.7% of the whole (1,627). Libertarian registration dropped by 73 voters, the Constitution party by 13 voters and the “other” category by one voter.
The current split of 75% registered Republicans to 12.7% registered Democrats is the largest split between the two parties in recorded Wyoming history.
Of the ballots cast in Tuesday’s Primary Election, 94% were Republican. Less than 5% were Democratic.
There were 171,964 ballots cast in the Republican Primary Election on Tuesday, compared to 8,194 Democratic ballots, or 4.5%. Nonpartisan ballots had even less turnout, with 1,984, or 1% of the total.
There were 182,142 ballots cast altogether, or 63% of Wyoming’s entire voter registry of 287,014.
For comparison, the total number of votes cast in the 2020 Primary Election were fewer than the Republican votes cast this year.
In 2020 there were about 42,000 fewer ballots cast total, at 140,042.
There were roughly 71,000 fewer Republican ballots cast, with 110,575, or 79%.
Despite having a meager turnout compared to this year’s massive voter influx, the 2020 Primary Election had about 17,000 more Democratic ballots than this year’s election, with 25,526 (18.2%). That’s more than three times this year’s Democratic ratio.
Even the nonpartisan count shrank by 2,000 from that cycle to this one: two years ago there were 3,941 unaffiliated ballots cast, or 2.8%.
The 2018 Primary Election was similar to 2020, with 139,809 ballots total. Of those, 117,752 (84.2%) were Republican and 19,459 (13.9%) were Democratic. There were 2,598 nonpartisan ballots, or about 1.9% of the total.
Only citizens registered to a specific party may cast a vote in favor of a candidate in that same party during the Primary Election. However, the General Election has been described by county clerks as a “free-for-all,” in which any person may vote for any candidate, regardless of party affiliation.
The Wyoming General Election is scheduled for Nov. 8.