Jackson Democrat Christie Koriakin voted in her first primary election Tuesday, and she did so as a Republican.
“I’ve never voted Republican ever,” Koriakin said Wednesday.
She switched parties on advice from members of JH Activate, a political activism Facebook group, that casting a GOP ballot could help decide races for governor, U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
“I asked around,” she said. “‘Is it worth it? Is it cheating?’ And everyone is like: ‘No. It’s totally legal.’”
Wyoming statutes allow voters to switch party affiliations the day they vote. Even so, the Jackson Hole Tea Party’s Bob Culver said Wednesday that doesn’t make it right.
“They’re probably still strictly following the rules,” he said. “But they’re gaming the system.”
Candidate for governor Foster Friess, who lost the Republican primary to state Treasurer Mark Gordon, said in an email to fellow Republican candidates obtained by WyoFile that “it seems like the Democrats have figured out this party switch deal to their advantage.” Friess suggested changing election law to “change the policy of same day registration to something like 25 days.”
Likewise, the Wyoming GOP issued a statement Aug. 13 that called for a change in rules to prevent “party jumping.”
Former Democratic candidate for Wyoming governor Leslie Petersen said party switching has been happening for years.
“People have very few choices on the ballot, and they very often cross over,” Petersen said.
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