Election Reform Measure Fails In The Senate

Jan 23, 2019

The Wyoming Senate has defeated a bill that would have allowed the state to explore an alternative voting method. Laramie Senator Chris Rothfuss was proposing that the state switch to an open primary where voters could vote for all candidates seeking a particular office and the top two vote-getters could advance to the general election, no matter their party affiliation.

Rothfuss said he's hoping to both improve the primary election and make the general election more competitive. But Casper Senator Charles Scott said the change would mean that county clerks would have to spend millions on new equipment. Senator Larry Hicks also opposed the bill saying it would remove party ideology from the primary process.

"You're going to see a mass of people running towards the middle of the political spectrum and I'm just going to tell you that this is a substantial departure from what we currently do and has long term implications for the future of the state of Wyoming and I think the nation."

Senate President Drew Perkins also thought the change would be confusing, especially since it would allow voters to pick a first and second choice. Rothfuss said people in the state are dissatisfied with the current primary voting system.

While the Rothfuss bill failed, a bill by Senator Bo Biteman that would prevent party switching in the primary election will be reconsidered by a Senate Committee Thursday morning.