Wyoming lawmakers voted narrowly Thursday to consider a Donald Trump-backed bill that could affect Rep. Liz Cheney’s re-election chances by making it harder for voters to register as Republicans ahead of this summer’s primary.
Wyoming currently allows voters to register at the polls on primary day and decide then if they want to affiliate as Republican or Democrat and get a ballot for either the Republican or Democratic primary. Voters may also register and choose their party affiliation up to two weeks before the primary.
Some Republicans fret that less-conservative GOP candidates get a boost when left-leaning voters register as Republicans instead of Democrats.
GOP lawmakers propose to alter the law by restricting changes in voters’ party affiliation to no earlier than 96 days before the Republican and Democratic primaries, set for Aug. 16 this year.
“It makes total sense that only Democrats vote in the Democrat primary and only Republicans vote in the Republican primary,” Trump said in a statement Thursday endorsing the proposed change.
The Wyoming Senate voted 20-10 to introduce the party affiliation bill for further consideration. It needed a two-thirds majority to advance because it’s not related to the state budget taken up by the Legislature in even-numbered years.
The Wyoming House of Representatives took up the work of redistricting Wednesday afternoon, approving a plan that would add three seats to the state’s legislative branch.
Rep. Shelly Duncan, R-Lingle, began by saying House Bill 100 is the best fit for Wyoming’s shifting population. HB 100 proposes an increase to 62 representatives and 31 senators.
“The proposed 62-31 plan was easily the best option to ensure people have fair representation for the entire state. It balances the requirement for more representation for those areas that have grown against the prospect of less representation for the least-populated areas,” said Duncan, who serves on the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee. The panel took up the task of redistricting, or drawing lines around the areas from which sitting legislators are elected, following the 2020 Census.
Some were unconvinced by the plan.
Rep. Clark Stith, R-Rock Springs, questioned the wisdom of increasing the Legislature’s size.
“The question is, what is the compelling need to increase the size of the Legislature? There isn’t one,” Stith said, adding that he planned to propose an amendment that would retain a 60-30 redistricting split.
A bill that would require employers to accommodate unvaccinated workers died in a state legislative committee Wednesday morning. The vote was five lawmakers against it and four for it.
House Bill 32, “Vaccine requirements-limitations,” would have mandated that employers make accommodations for employees who were unvaccinated. It also would have required a five-year waiting period on any new vaccines before the Wyoming Department of Health could require them for K-12 students.
HB 32 also would have mandated that health care facilities provide “reasonable accommodations” to anyone without proof of vaccination status who was seeking to visit a patient.