Civics and Civility

Make sure you are registered to vote

By David Hill
Posted 3/28/24

We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” — Thomas Jefferson. 

According to the Park County Elections website, …

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Civics and Civility

Make sure you are registered to vote


We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” — Thomas Jefferson. 

According to the Park County Elections website, through Nov. 8, 2022, there were 18,581 registered voters in Park County. Currently, there are about 14,400 registered voters in Park County. This difference is the result of more than 4,000 registered voters having been removed from the voting rolls under Wyoming Statute 22-3-115. 

Stated another way, approximately 21.5% or one-fifth of the registered voters in Park County have been removed from the voter rolls since 2022. Most of these removed individuals had their registration canceled because they did not vote in the 2022 general election. Even if you think you are registered to vote, double check — you may have been removed from the rolls.

Throughout Wyoming, only 44.4% of the voting age population voted in the 2022 general election according to the voter turnout statistics on the Secretary of State’s website. Based on those voter turnout statistics, there is a reasonable chance that approximately 100,000 had their voter registration canceled following the 2022 general election.

Wyoming Statute 22-3-115 provides grounds for cancellation of a voter’s registration. These grounds are (1) not voting in any general election; (2) death; (3) moving out of the county or state more than 30 days before an election; (4) being disqualified from voting; (5) registering to vote somewhere else; and (6) requesting to be removed.

In 2023, Wyoming Statute 22-5-214 was amended to promote a closed primary and protect against crossover voting (the practice of changing party affiliation from one party to another just to vote in that party’s primary election). This amendment prohibits individuals from changing party affiliation after the candidate application period opens in May. 

I believe that voting is the most basic and essential duty we have as citizens. Individuals who had their registration canceled can and should re-register to vote. In Park County, those who re-register after May 15 are treated similarly to new registered voters. This means that they can declare their party affiliation at the time of re-registration and participate in their party’s primary election that same year.

Returning to Thomas Jefferson’s quote above, I have to ask, why do some people not participate in the basic duty of voting? Some of the reasons I have heard include a perceived inability to get to the polls on Election Day, dissatisfaction with the candidate(s), and a feeling that their vote does not matter. I hope to help resolve these concerns.

For those who feel that they simply are not able to vote in an election because of time or mobility restrictions, I propose two solutions. First, absentee and early voting provide a broad ability for individuals to participate in elections for an entire month without having to deal with long lines, crowds, or time constraints. This year, absentee and early voting for the primary election will begin on July 23 and will end Aug. 19. For the general election, absentee and early voting run from Oct. 8 through  Nov. 4. I encourage all to plan accordingly.

Second, Wyoming Statute 22-2-111 allows any employed person who is entitled to vote to take an hour off work, in addition to their lunch break, to vote unless they have three consecutive non-working hours when the polls are open on Election Day. That statute also protects their pay for the hour that they take to vote as long as they actually vote. The date of the primary election is Aug. 20, and the general election is Nov. 5. The polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on both days.

For those who are dissatisfied with a candidate or multiple candidates, it is still worth voting. This year, Park County will be voting for president, vice president, U.S. senator, U.S. representative, the retention of six different judges, two state senators, five state representatives, two county commissioners, and a large number of other town, county and board positions. We will also be able to vote on referendums and constitutional amendments which may be presented. 

If a voter is not satisfied with a particular candidate, they are not obligated to vote for them, but that should not be used as an excuse to not vote at all. If you want to make sure you have good candidates, voting in the primary election is key.

Finally, some people feel that their vote does not matter. In Wyoming, an individual voter has more power than in any other state. For example, in presidential elections, Wyoming has approximately 195,000 people per electoral vote while California has approximately 720,000 people per electoral vote. 

Based on the number of adult residents per state when compared to the number of elected officials, Wyoming voters also have the most voting power for electing U.S. senators and governor. With our small communities, it is not uncommon for elections to be decided by tens or hundreds of votes. For anyone who thinks their vote does not matter, think again! Your vote matters more here than anywhere else.

Do not let excuses keep you from voting. Register or re-register to vote, study the issues, get to know the candidates and make a plan to participate. “A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.” — Theodore Roosevelt.

(Nothing in this article is intended as legal advice.)