A bill that would prevent people from changing their party affiliation in the 96 days before a Wyoming Primary election has passed the Wyoming Senate and is headed to the state House of Representatives.

You can read Senate File 97 here.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Bo Biteman, and co-sponsored by Sens. Boner, Bouchard, Driskill, French, Hicks, Hutchings, McKeown, Salazar and Steinmetz and Representative(s) Gray, Haroldson, Jennings, Laursen and Neiman.

Some Republican lawmakers have been trying for several years to get such legislation passed in Wyoming. Much of the original impetus for such a bill grew out of the 2018 Wyoming GOP Gubernatorial Primary election, when supporters of arch-conservative candidate Foster Friess blamed Democrat crossover votes in that election for Friess's defeat by State Treasurer Mark Gordon, who was widely considered to be mmore moderate than Friess.

While there was a telephone campaign in the days leading up to the primary urging Democrats to vote for Gordon in the GOP primary, it's not clear whether that was the deciding factor in Gordon's win.

Some opponents of such legislation over the years have argued that such laws restrict voters' rights to cast ballots for the candidate of their choice, especially when, as is the case with SF 97, they are prevented from registering before even knowing who will file to run in party primaries. But supporters say the current law interferes with political party rights to restrict voting to members of their party, as opposed to non-members who may change the outcomes of close primary elections.

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Senate File 97 as he hopes for a defeat of arch-nemesis Rep. Liz Cheney in this year's GOP congressional primary.

Some Cheney opponents are concerned about crossover Democrats carrying Cheney to victory in the Aug. 16 primary election.

Meanwhile, an amendment proposed by Sen. Chris Rothfuss to allow a poltical party to opt out of the legislation if they so choose failed on Friday. Rothfuss said that while Republicans may want to prevent people from registering as members of their party leading up to the primary, Wyoming Democrats do not.

Here is how the Senate voted on Senate File 97 on Friday:

Ayes: BITEMAN, BONER, BOUCHARD, COOPER, DOCKSTADER, DRISKILL, ELLIS, FRENCH, HICKS, HUTCHINGS, JAMES, KINSKEY, KOLB, MCKEOWN, NETHERCOTT, SALAZAR, STEINMETZ, WASSERBURGER
Nays: ANDERSON, BALDWIN, CASE, FURPHY, GIERAU, KOST, LANDEN, PAPPAS, PERKINS, ROTHFUSS, SCHULER, SCOTT

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