A bill that would bar people from changing their party affiliation in the last two weeks before an election has cleared first reading in the Wyoming House of Representatives.

You can read House Bill 209 here. The bill still faces two more readings in the House before potentially moving on to the Senate. It would allow people to switch parties only if the filed the change in affiliation more than two weeks before election day.

Getting some kind of restriction on party switching in elections has been a top priority of the Wyoming Republican Party since the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary election when some party members claimed Democrats switching parties at the last minute tipped the primary election in favor of moderate Mark Gordon in his battle with conservative stalwart Foster Friess of Jackson.

A phone campaign targeting Democratic voters in the days leading up to the primary urged them to register as Republicans for the primary and vote for Gordon, who was eventually nominated and was elected as governor in the general election.

A crossover voting bill passed the state House last season before being defeated in the Senate.

Supporters of such legislation have claimed that it is necessary to keep party primaries free of interference by non-party members. Opponents have argued that such a law interferes with a voter's right to vote for the candidate of their choice without regard to partisan labels.

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