A bill that would bar people from switching parties in the last two weeks before a Wyoming primary election has passed the Wyoming House of Representatives and is now headed to the Senate. 

House Bill 209 passed Friday morning on a 44-14 vote with two members excused. The Senate refused to endorse similar bills in 2019.

At one point last year, a crossover voting bill had aimed to prevent anyone from switching parties as early as May 1 before a primary election.

Supporters of House Bill 209 say an influx of non-party members who switch to vote in a primary election endangers the right of the party to select nominees who truly reflect the views of party members.

Opponents argue that such legislation interferes with voters' rights to cast a ballot for the candidate of their choice, and say the rights of voters should take precedence over those of political parties.

The issue came to the forefront in the 2018 Wyoming GOP gubernatorial primary, when supporters of conservative Foster Friess claimed Democrats who switched parties at the last moment swung the primary to Mark Gordon, who was generally viewed as more moderate than Friess.

But others dispute the claim that Democrats won the primary for Gordon, saying not enough Democrats actually voted in the primary to change the outcome.

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