State Bill Would Allow Independents To Vote In Primaries

 Nearly 800,000 registered voters in PA are unaffiliated with any party

Lynne Hayes-Freeland
May 06, 2019 - 11:51 am

iStock / Getty Images Plus/liveslow


HARRISBURG (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Independent voters could one day be able to cast ballots in Pennsylvania primary elections under legislation gaining momentum in Harrisburg.

The bills main sponsor, State Senate president Republican Joe Scarnati, says the idea is to get more voters involved in primaries.

 Nearly 800,000 registered voters in PA are unaffiliated with any party.

The commonwealth is one of just nine states with a closed primary not allowing independents to vote. Common Cause Pennsylvania Executive Director Micah Sims tells KDKA radio he supports a bill to open it up.

“This is basically allowing unaffiliated voters to choice whether they want to choose candidates on the Democratic side or the Republican side.”

Sims says in places like Pittsburgh, the primary is often the most important election.

“Often times the general election really is insignificant because there’s not a significant of the other party out there voting at the general (election).”

The measure would not allow Democrats and Republicans to cross over to vote in a primary.

The Senate's ranking Democrat, Jay Costa of Forest Hills, also supports the measure.

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