After midterms, Wyoming lost over 80,000 registered voters, raising concerns

Routine voter purges cut 1 out of 4 Wyoming voters, and crossover voting is gone. Election advocates worry that voters won’t know about the changes until it’s too late.

After the 2022 midterm elections in Wyoming, over 80,000 registered voters were removed from the state’s voter rolls. During the 2023 legislative session, the state passed bills that prohibit crossover voting during primaries and shorten the early and absentee voting period.

Registered voters in the Cowboy State who did not participate in 2022’s general election will receive a letter from their county clerk stating their registration status will be removed unless they take action. Based on the latest numbers from the Secretary of State, more than 25% or one in four voters have been purged.

According to Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee, while the purge is standard procedure, the size of the lingering gap in registered voter numbers is not.

Lee, however, is more focused on how Wyoming voters will react to other changes, particularly the state’s elimination of crossover voting.

“Wyoming voters are very used to having the freedom to change, even on the election day. And I think we’ll see some very unhappy people,” Lee said.

‘Crossover voting’ was a practice in which voters could vote in whichever of Wyoming’s primaries they chose, regardless of party affiliation on election day. Now, registered voters must declare their party affiliation by May 15 to vote in the August 20 primary, but the filing period for candidates opens on May 16. according to Nate Martin, director of the non-profit Better Wyoming, this means that voters are forced to pick a party without knowing who represents it.

“The state is now stopping unaffiliated people from being able to know which candidates are running prior to their registering to vote in a primary,” Martin said. “There are a lot of independent-minded people in Wyoming who would rather vote for the person rather than the party.”

In addition to eliminating crossover voting, the number of days available for absentee voting has been reduced from 45 days ahead of an election to 28. Marguerite Herman, a Wyoming’s League of Women Voters representative, worries that changes to the Cowboy State’s election systems have not been publicized.

“The League of Women Voters and other groups that value civic engagement are concerned that voters are not aware of recently enacted restrictions,” Herman said.

The Secretary of State’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Visit USA Today’s Wyoming election guide to stay up-to-date on upcoming races, voter registration information, and more.

Cy Neff reports on Wyoming Politics for USA Today. You can reach him at, or on X, formerly known as Twitter @CyNeffNews

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