HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania is one of just nine states that has closed primaries, meaning residents can only vote in primaries for the party that matches their voter registration, but that may be changing.
It’s been debated for years, but for the first time, the state House held a public hearing on a bill that would open Pennsylvania’s primaries. Voters not affiliated with a party would be able to choose the primary in which they would like to vote.
Supporters say opening primaries up to independents would moderate both parties and ease hyper-partisanship. They also argue that it is the right thing to do since third-party voters pay for elections with their tax dollars just like Democrats and Republicans and because roughly a third of state legislative races are actually decided in the primary.
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“If you don’t cast a ballot in the primary, nobody’s going to campaign to you. No one is going to go and try to get your vote because there’s only one candidate, they’ve already won,” said John Opdycke, president of Open Primaries.
Critics say that third-party voters aren’t excluded from voting, they merely have to register with a party 15 days before an election and can switch every election if they choose.
abc27 will have more on this story Wednesday evening. Check back for updates.