By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
If every Wyoming voter now registered as a Democrat votes in the upcoming general election, the party will keep its major-party recognition in the state.
Under Wyoming elections law, organizations are recognized as major political parties when they have more than 10% of the vote in a governor, secretary of state or U.S. House of Representatives general-election race.
If the Democratic Party doesn’t reach that quota Nov. 8, it will lose its status as a major party.
Only “major” parties get their own ballot in the state’s primary elections. Lesser parties choose their election nominees at party conventions.
On Oct. 1, there were 234,476 Republicans and 31,471 Democrats registered to vote in Wyoming. With 27,194 unaffiliated, 555 Constitution Party, 2,206 Libertarian and 24 “other” registered voters, the Democratic Party has 10.6% of the total – just enough to stay “major” and to have its own ballot in the 2024 primary election.
The Democratic registry has increased by 1,200 voters since Sept. 1, while Wyoming’s entire voter population has only grown by 728.
The Democratic voter turnout for the Aug. 16 primary election this year was 4.5%. The Republican turnout was 94.4%.
Crossover Voting Catchup, Post Election
This year’s primary election was characterized by crossover voting, especially following a push by U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney to recruit non-Republican voters to switch parties to vote for her in the Republican primary.
Between July 1 and Sept. 1, the Republican Party swelled by 34,719 voters while the Democratic Party lost 13,014 voters, the unaffiliated registry lost 7,731, the Constitution Party lost 199 and Libertarian Party lost 427 voters.
Meanwhile, the total population of registered voters only grew by 12,991 – just over one-third of the Republican Party’s increase.
An employee at the Secretary of State’s office told Cowboy State Daily the Sept. 1 figures were more indicative of the actual party ratios on election day than the August registration figures, since county clerks still were catching up their registration reporting from the summer on Sept. 1.
Even with the apparent shift of Democrats to the Republican Party, Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman defeated Cheney by 63,740 votes to win the Republican nomination and advance to the general election.
No Danger Lately
The Democratic Party was in no peril of losing state recognition in the 2020 general election, with Democratic U.S. House candidate Lynnette Grey Bull garnering 23.9% of the total vote to Cheney’s 66.7%.
In 2018, the Democratic share was even higher, with Democratic U.S. House candidate Greg Hunter winning 29.2% of the vote to Cheney’s 62.3%.