(WHTM) — Pennsylvania’s primary election just ended, but attempts to reform the process have not.
Some lawmakers feel the current election system favors extreme candidates who can win primaries with a large field of candidates despite receiving just a third of the vote, which does not reflect the will of the people.
There are many possible fixes and a few Republican state lawmakers are now putting theirs forward.
Republican State Senator Ryan Aument (Lancaster) and Frank Farry (Bucks) want to implement runoff elections in statewide and congressional elections when no candidates receive at least 50 percent of the vote.
“Voters ought to be able to have the tools to ensure that the nominees who do emerge are a clear consensus pick and not a narrow plurality,” said Aument.
Get the latest Pennsylvania politics and election news with abc27 newsletters!
Take last year’s crowded Republican Primary Election for example. For Senate, Mehmet Oz got 31.2 percent of the vote and Dave McCormick received 31.1 percent. For governor, Doug Mastriano got 43 percent and Lou Barletta received 20 percent.
Under Aument’s proposal, both races would’ve had runoff elections a few weeks later between the top two since neither winner got 50 percent of the vote.
“To emerge as a party nominee with 25, 30, 35 percent of the vote is, I don’t think is healthy. It’s not presenting the voters with the best options in November,” Aument added.
“Candidates are going to have to be very careful how they attack their opponents because they may very well need their opponents’ supporters at the end of the day. And second, I think it’s very healthy to have the top two finishers in the party to go back out to the voters and engage in a debate with one another,” said Aument.
Those opposed to runoffs don’t like the cost of hosting a second election day, but Aument says it would only apply to statewide and congressional elections.
“I think it’s worth the expenses, it’s worth having better selections for the voters in November and candidates who are emerging that are a clear consensus pick of their parties. And voters are more satisfied after the November election,” Aument said.
Aument admits he’s trying to help candidates with more broad-based support. There are also bills in the legislature that would open Pennsylvania’s primaries or introduce ranked-choice voting that supporters say would favor more moderate candidates