The Saratoga Sun -

Large turnout powers primary election

Mid-term primary voter tally higher than 2016 presidential primary election


August 29, 2018

Keith McLendon

Voters make their choices at the Platte Valley Community Center as election judges check people in and keep an eye out during Tuesday's primary election.

For many, the 2018 primary election was one to watch on several levels as both Liz Cheney and John Barrasso fended off challengers within their own party while State Treasurer Mark Gordon narrowly avoided defeat by GOP megadonor Foster Friess. The importance of the primaries in 2018 was evident in the numbers as well.

According to data from the Wyoming Secretary of State following the primary election, on Aug. 21 140,070 registered voters cast a ballot. The last time the number was this high was when 142,231 people voted in the 1994 midterm primaries. During the 2016 primary election, only 114,437 registered voters cast a ballot - and this was during a presidential election cycle.

What could be seen as one of the more interesting results from this most recent primary election was the surge of 3,082 registered Republicans across the state according to a statewide summary of voter registration from the Secretary of State. Of that number, 1,914 were voters who registered between the first of the month and the day of the election. The other 1,168 switched parties to Republican either on or before Aug. 21.

Carbon County itself saw a larger turnout than the last presidential primary election and the last two midterm primaries. Of registered voters within the county, 54.62 percent turned out last Tuesday. During the 2016 election, only 50.3 percent of voters cast a ballot in the primary election and, during the last two midterms, 46.2 percent turned out in 2014 and 49.58 percent turned out in 2010.

The county followed the statewide trend, although on a much smaller level, of registered voters switching parties at the polls. As of Aug. 1, there were 1,312 registered Democrats and 1,084 unaffiliated voters in Carbon County. The day of the election, however, saw the number of Democrats drop by eight and unaffiliated voters drop by 15. Registered Republicans, meanwhile, increased by 44, though the many of those were voters who were previously unregistered.


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