HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania House State Government Committee plans to consider legislation to establish open primary elections in Pennsylvania when it meets today at 9 a.m.
According to Majority Chairman Scott Conklin (D-Centre) H.B. 979, sponsored by state Rep. Jared Solomon, (D-Phila), and H.B. 976, sponsored by state Rep. Marla Brown (R-Lawrence), would do away with Pennsylvania’s system of closed primaries.
Closed primaries exclude voters who are unaffiliated with a political party. Doing away with closed primaries would allow these unaffiliated voters to vote in primary elections.
“There are as many as one million unaffiliated voters in Pennsylvania, and their numbers have been increasing,” Conklin said. “These voters pay taxes and help fund our electoral system, yet they’re excluded from key local, state, and federal primary contests.
“Our laws should be framed in a way to encourage broad participation at the ballot box, not to discourage it. Opening up our primary elections, as many other states have done, would ensure that this large and growing segment of our population has a say in who represents them,” Conklin added.