HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Students from colleges and universities across the state rallied at the Capitol, calling for the end of closed primary elections in Pennsylvania.
“We are extremely polarized in today’s climate in today’s political climate and allowing independents to vote just opens up more opinions and ideals rather than just sticking to the rudimentary,” said Thomas Monboussin from Kutztown University.
Right now, Pennsylvania is one of six states that doesn’t allow independents to vote in primary elections, leaving more than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians without a voice.
“Getting young people involved is very important because they’re the future, they’re the next generation that’s going to be the Legislators, the Senators, the Representatives, the Governors, the President. Blocking them out just because of their political beliefs and affiliation is unfair and undemocratic,” said Monboussin.
According to a recent survey by the Institute for Citizens and Scholars, 61% of 18 to 24-year-olds don’t identify with either political party.
“I think it’s so important that we represent all constituents in PA and the way that our voting occurs right now, we’ve isolated so many voters and so the message needs to be that you know democracy began in PA and we need to stay at the forefront of what our voters need and expect in PA,” Representative Marla Brown (R-Lawrence)
This rally comes as officials meet to discuss a bill to end this process.
“I think voting is one of the most important civic responsibilities that you could possibly have and that’s kind of the whole point of a democracy obviously is to vote,” said Joshua Summers with the University of Pittsburgh.
Pennsylvania is also home to over 800,000 veterans; over half are registered as independents.