The Wyoming Legislature's Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee on Monday voted to begin work on draft versions of bills dealing with photo identification for voters and restrictions on changes in party registration.

Versions of bills dealing with those subjects failed to win approval during the 2019 session of the Wyoming Legislature. House Bill 106 and Senate File 32 would have restricted voters ability to change their party registration leading up to a Wyoming primary election.

The bills largely grew out of frustration by conservative Republicans over a Democratic phone campaign leading up to the 2018 Republican Gubernatorial election. The robocalls urged Democrats to vote in the Republican Primary election for Treasurer Mark Gordon as opposed to conservative activist Foster Friess. Gordon, generally seen as the more moderate candidate, went on to win the primary as well as the general election.

While it isn't clear what, if any, impact Democratic voters had on the outcome of that primary, many conservatives blamed the phone campaign for Friess's defeat.

Opponents of the bills in the 2019 session argued they restricted the freedom of voters to cast a ballot for the candidate of their choice. Supporters argued that the right of political parties to choose their own candidates is more important than freedom of choice for voters in primary elections.

Rep. Gray also co-sponsored House Bill 192, which would have required voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot. That bill fell short by two votes in the Wyoming House in 2019.

Gray was interviewed by KGAB morning host Glenn Woods on Wednesday morning on both proposals.

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