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Deadline to change political party affiliation looms as new law goes into effect

A sign reads "Election heroes work here," with a woman standing to the right.
David Dudley
Wyoming Public Media
Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee in the Elections Office in downtown Cheyenne.

It can be tempting to wait until the last minute to register to vote. Likewise, it may sound like a good idea to wait to change your political party affiliation. But a new state law means you may not be able to vote for your preferred candidate if you wait too long.

The deadline to change your party affiliation for Wyoming's primary election is Wednesday, May 15, if you're already a registered voter. New voters may register and declare a party affiliation at their county clerk’s office until the primary election.

Other key election dates and deadlines can be found here.

Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee urges voters to call their county clerks' offices to check their voter status.

"If they are registered, in particular with a third party, such as Constitution, Libertarian or No Labels party, or they are unaffiliated, or if they live in the county, for example, they will not have any ballot during the primary," said Lee.

Those who wait until the last moment may be met with confusion and even frustration at polling centers.

"Voters do need to be prepared, if they should be challenged at the polls, in terms of their eligibility to vote, to be able to provide documentation for that," Lee added. Acceptable forms of identification include a Wyoming driver's license or ID card, a tribal ID card, a valid US passport or a US Military Card, among others. The full list may be found here.

Lee says another reason to check your voting status is that nearly 90,000 registered voters were purged from voter rolls across the state last month.

Wyoming’s primary elections are on August 20. The general election, which includes this year's presidential election, is November 5.

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

David Dudley is an award-winning journalist who has written for The Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor, High Country News, WyoFile, and the Wyoming Truth, among many others. David was a Guggenheim Crime in America Fellow at John Jay College from 2020-2023. During the past 10 years, David has covered city and state government, business, economics and public safety beats for various publications. He lives in Cheyenne with his family.

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