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UW Survey: Early Voting Remains Popular in Wyoming

December 1, 2022

Early voting remains popular in the Equality State, according to the latest survey conducted by the University of Wyoming.

Two out of five Wyoming voters cast ballots before the Nov. 8 general election, while three out of five cast their ballots at the polls on Election Day. Among those casting ballots early, 66 percent voted in person at a designated location, and 34 percent voted by mail.

Telephone interviews with 524 Wyoming residents selected at random were conducted by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center’s Survey Research Center at UW. Participants in the survey were interviewed in late October and, again, during the week following the election. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

Jim King, the survey’s director and a UW professor of political science, says the survey revealed a modest decline in early voting from 2020. However, a larger share of the state’s voters cast early ballots compared to 2018.

“This year, 40 percent of Wyomingites voted early compared to 48 percent two years ago and 31 percent in 2018,” King says.

The coronavirus pandemic contributed to the substantial increase in early voting from 2018 to 2020. King believes that people who voted early in 2020 due to the pandemic might have seen how easier the process is and opted to do so again. Two factors were associated with the decision to vote early in 2022, he adds.

In a pattern seen across the nation in recent years, early voting was more common among Democrats than among Republicans and independents. And, as was seen in previous elections, age is associated with early voting, as older citizens commonly take advantage of the convenience offered by voting at an early voting location or by mail.

This year, 52 percent of Wyomingites age 55 years and older opted to vote early, while 77 percent of those age 54 years and younger chose to vote in person during the general election, according to the survey results.

Wyoming’s voter identification law was implemented in a general election for the first time this year, with few complaints by voters.

“Before the election, we asked survey participants if they approved or disapproved of the new voter ID law, and 92 percent indicated their approval,” King says. “After the election, we asked voters about the difficulty in complying with the law. Only one voter characterized the process as ‘not too difficult.’ Everyone else we interviewed replied that it was ‘not difficult at all.’”

King notes that Wyoming’s law accepts a larger number of forms of identification than is typically found in other states’ voter ID laws. This no doubt contributed to the popular support of the law and the ease of compliance, he adds.

Biennial surveys of Wyoming residents are conducted by UW’s School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies in partnership with the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. The questions focus on attitudes toward government, elected officials, candidates for office and contemporary policy issues.

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