Wyoming Voter Registrations At Eight-Year Low

Voter registrations in Wyoming are at their lowest in eight years as of Monday, with less than two months before the state’s primary election. Numbers usually drop when there's not a competitive race at the top of the ticket in Wyoming.

Leo Wolfson

July 03, 20243 min read

Laramie voters fill out their ballots during the 2022 Wyoming primary.
Laramie voters fill out their ballots during the 2022 Wyoming primary. (Greg Johnson, Cowboy State Daily)

With less than two months to go before primary election day in Wyoming, voter enthusiasm does not appear to be very high, if the number of people registered to vote is any indication.

As of Monday, 221,571 people were registered to vote in Wyoming, the lowest July 1 tally before a primary election since 2016.

During the last election in 2022, which featured a highly contentious race between former congresswoman Liz Cheney and U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman, 282,207 people were registered as of July 1.

For the last presidential election year in 2020, 224,381 people were registered to vote as of July of that year. Although this difference may appear small, it is more notable when considering that Wyoming’s population has grown by 1.2% since that time.

Also, participation in presidential-year general elections tends to be much higher.

The Purge Effect

There are a few reasons that could be leading to a drop-off of registered voters for the primary.

Each election year, Wyoming law stipulates that voters who did not participate in the previous general election be purged from the voter rolls by county clerks.

For example, if someone voted in the November 2020 presidential election but not the November 2022 general election, they would have likely been purged from voter rolls for the upcoming primary.

Although there was record voter turnout seen in the 2022 primary, participation dropped off significantly for the general election based on historical numbers, likely because there was no presidential race or any highly contested Wyoming state races that November.

Nearly 83,000 people were purged from the rolls this year.

More than 303,000 voters were registered to vote following the 2020 presidential election in Wyoming, but the number of registered voters was reduced to just over 216,000 in March 2023 due to purging, according to data from the Wyoming Secretary of State’s website.

Any voter who was purged from the voter rolls has up to election day to declare a party affiliation and vote.

This serves as a bit of a loophole to a 2023 law on party affiliation, which restricts changing of a voter’s party affiliation for existing registered voters once the candidate filing period began in May.

On primary election day 2022, close to 8,200 registered to vote that way. In 2020, it was around 9,000. On general election day 2020, around 34,200 people registered to vote on election day. In 2016, it was about 37,200.

Not Much Excitement

Although it’s more difficult to definitively prove, voter apathy may also be playing a factor in the low participation numbers so far.

The 2022 elections in Wyoming featured not only a congressional race, but also state-level races for governor, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor.

The only state-level races on the ticket this year are for the U.S. Senate and House, with U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and Hageman running for reelection.

Neither race is expected to be particularly competitive in either the primary or general election as both incumbents are facing challengers who are relative newcomers to the Wyoming political scene.

Then there’s the presidential race between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Numerous polls have shown that a significant number of Americans aren’t enthusiastic about this race, with many saying they don’t plan to vote at all.

Registration numbers historically jump significantly between the primary and general election during presidential election years in Wyoming.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at leo@cowboystatedaily.com.

Share this article



Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter