Wyoming Democrats are changing mail-in caucus voting

January 12, 2020 GMT

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Democratic Party has announced changes to its April caucuses to allow greater participation from those who don’t attend the gatherings.

Until now, people who voted in the Democratic caucuses by mail had to request a ballot and could vote for only one candidate. If their candidate did not receive 15% of the vote, they had no option to cast a second-round ballot like people attending caucuses could.

Under the new plan, mail-in ballots will allow people to rank up to five candidates. If their first-choice candidate doesn’t draw 15% of the vote, their vote will be assigned to their second-choice candidate.

“One of the points that motivated us to change this new caucus process was the idea that we had to find ways to include more people in that process,” Joe Barbuto, chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party, told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

Barbuto said while traditional caucuses are a fun way to encourage political engagement, only a fraction of the state’s Democrats normally show up.

To participate in the caucuses and automatically receive a ballot in the mail, voters must register with the party by March 20. The in-person caucuses are held on April 4 at various locations around the state.

In the longer term, Barbuto said the party supports moving away from caucuses to a primary election.