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Committee supports bill limiting crossover voting

Sen. Bo Biteman discusses his crossover voting bill
Bob Beck
Wyoming Public Media
Sen. Bo Biteman discusses his crossover voting bill

Despite hearing concerns that the bill will discourage primary election voting, the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously supported a bill that would put limits on a voter's ability to change political parties before the primary.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Sheridan Sen. Bo Biteman who wants to force people to declare their political party in May. He’s trying to prevent people from changing parties to influence the outcome of a competitive primary election. Most of the public testimony opposed the bill.

Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford was neutral, but said most county clerks are concerned about the impacts on the voters not closely tied to political parties.

“The fact that we have voters out there, particularly our non-partisan voters who don’t declare a ballot until they come to vote, until they see who the candidates are, we’re concerned about whether they’re going to be disenfranchised or not.”

Others, like the League of Women Voters, also feared that it would have a negative impact on voter turnout.

If passed, the bill would go into effect this year, which Republicans hope will keep Democrats from voting in the highly competitive Republican U.S. House race. The bill now goes to the Senate floor for further consideration.

Bob Beck retired from Wyoming Public Media after serving as News Director of Wyoming Public Radio for 34 years. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.
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