CHEYENNE — A new version of a bill that would prevent the practice of crossover voting — switching political parties the day of or in the runup to an election — would require voters to present photo identification to switch their party.
The changes were included in a number of amendments brought Tuesday by Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, to House Bill 106.
The amendment also introduces stricter time frames for when party affiliation changes could take place. Under the new amendment, those looking to switch parties would be required to do so by May 1 of a general election year, rather than 14 days prior, as was stipulated in a previous version of the bill that was passed by the House of Representatives.
There is a carve-out for unaffilliated voters, however, allowing them to bypass these deadlines by completing an application signed by a notary or election official, submitting a current photo ID and filing it with the county clerk no less than 14 days before the primary election, at the polls on election day or when requesting an absentee ballot, according to a copy of the amendment obtained by the Star-Tribune.
The subject of crossover voting has been highly contentious since the close of the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, after GOP activists — and losing candidate Foster Friess — alleged that Democrats had switched political parties in order to swing the election in favor of the more moderate candidate, now-Gov. Mark Gordon.
Though later numbers showed that crossover voting did occur — just not to the degree they would have swayed the outcome of the election — the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee declined to take up the topic in the interim. Several bills intended to address the problem were introduced and subsequently killed in the 2019 session.
However, bills were later introduced — and passed — out of both chambers of the legislature, both with support of House and Senate leadership.
The bill now moves onto the full Senate.