Tuesday, July 09, 2019

What Happened to Pa.'s Open Primary Bill?



I've told you that the Pa. State Senate recently approved a bill to open primary elections to independent voters. The legislation currently sits in the House State Gov't Committee, with no hearings scheduled at this time. But since the prime sponsor is Republican Joe Scarnati, and the House is Republican, this reform might actually pass.

This legislation was opposed by eight state senators, three Democrats and two Republicans.

Scarnati has argued that his "legislation will give over 740,000 registered unaffiliated voters the right to participate in the primary election process. Specifically, on the day of the primary election, it will allow these voters to choose to cast their vote on either the Republican or Democrat ballot. Voters who are registered with either the Republican or Democratic Party will continue to be required to vote on their respective ballots.

"According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states utilize some form of an open primary for unaffiliated voters. These states include Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah and West Virginia.

"In our most recent primary election, only 18 percent of Pennsylvania’s registered voters went to the ballot box to cast a vote. The low turnout can in part be attributed to voters feeling disenfranchised by the extremes of both major parties, who have taken control of our primary process. Allowing more people the opportunity to have a voice in their representation is an important step toward ensuring democracy."

Scarnati's sentiments are shared by Open Primaries. This organization makes the following points:

- 86% of Americans believe the government is broken
- 43% of Americans, including 50% of Millennials, identify as politically independent
- 70% of Americans support open primaries
- Primaries are conducted with taxpayer money. The closed presidential primaries in 2016 cost taxpayers a quarter billion dollars, yet left out 26.3 million voters

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

And why should a so called "independent" have more voting choices than say a republican?
why not let the repub vote for a Dem in a primary?
or the reverse.
that rep can vote for either the best rep candidate or vote for the worst Dem candidate.
just like the choice being given to the "independent".
no need to elevate an "independent" above every other voter.
inde should have no say on a primary decision.if they want to do that then pick a side

Anonymous said...

Rome had open primaries and look at what happened to them.

Anonymous said...

I understand they had open borders and no spear and arrow control too.

Anonymous said...

Why should “Independents” be able to vote at all?
If you want to participate in this country’s political system join a party or move to Russia.

Anonymous said...

Independents have the right to vote in Primary Elections. It is called a write in vote. If there is no candidate on their ballot, they can write in anyone's name that they so desire. If someone registers as a Socialist, Constitutionist or Communist, will they be allowed to vote in the primary for Republicans or Democrats. I say screw them. Register in a party and vote in your own Primary. The Primary is for my party not for their party.

Anonymous said...

@9:41AM. Kindly pay for YOUR parties primary please. Why should taxpayers pay for your private event? Where can we send the bill?

Bernie O'Hare said...

" If someone registers as a Socialist, Constitutionist or Communist, will they be allowed to vote in the primary for Republicans or Democrats. "

This is incorrect. People who belong to a minor party can only vote for candidates in that party. This legislation only applies to independents. It would go along way to eliminating the extremism from both parties. It would also curb the influence of partisans.

Anonymous said...

Eliminate party primaries altogether and treat them as a general election - allow ANY Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Green, or Subterranean Tinfoil Hat Brigade of the Third House of Lightbringer Zorg to be on the ballot for the May election. Take the top 2, maybe 3 if certain conditions are met, and have them go at it in November.

This will force Dems and Reps to put forward candidates who have broad appeal to their entire precinct, district, state and/or country versus robots who just follow party orders. Believe it or not, the fact is that most people in this country are not tree humping left wing socialists or FOX News watching borderline, potentially full blown racist fucktards.

Anonymous said...

9:14 AM - "If you want to participate in this country’s political system join a party or move to Russia"

Brah, do you even need me to explain how wrong this is or have you sobered up enough from when you posted it?

Anonymous said...

Clearly 9:14AM is either a tree humping left wing socialist or a FOX News watching borderline, potentially full blown racist fucktard... And takes immense pride in being so.

Either way, he, she, it, is the reason this country is headed toward our own version of Idiocracy.

Anonymous said...

1053 AM:

I appreciate and respect your use of the term "fucktard".

I like to think I invented that term back in 2000 or so.

Anonymous said...

Loosen up Independents' petition requirements and the problem is solved. They'll actually get an easier path to the general. But make no mistake. The requirements are stiff because Rs and Ds make the rules and want to strongly discourage Independents from getting to the dance floor.

Anonymous said...

3:10 PM -- Did you invent the word by just existing?

Bernie O'Hare said...


At this time people have the freedom to vote a straight ticket or pick and choose for each office. The so-called freedom loving libertarian/republicans want to take away one of those freedoms away.”


Duh, you still have the “freedom” to vote for every Dem on the ballot. You must have me confused with low information voters you like to herd.

Anonymous said...

10.13
" It would go along way to eliminating the extremism from both parties. It would also curb the influence of partisans."

try rush limbaugh and "operation chaos"

it could actually make it worse.

Anonymous said...

If you want to choose the candidate, register in the party. Its not difficult. You can still be an independent voter and have a "D" or "R" next to your name. This is specifically to get Bernie Sanders and people like him who won't actually join the party but feel entitled to the party mantle. Nonsense.

Anonymous said...

This is incorrect. People who belong to a minor party can only vote for candidates in that party. This legislation only applies to independents. It would go along way to eliminating the extremism from both parties. It would also curb the influence of partisans.

So let me get this straight. You want Dems to only vote for Dems and Repubs to only vote for Repubs but independents, who'd I'd characterize as the least confident voters on the issues, can vote for anyone they want?

Sorry, I'm not ready to hand over elections to indecisive and frankly uninformed voters. "Independent" usually means youre too lazy to actually comprehend the very stark differences between the parties.

Anonymous said...

8:59, Sanders choosing to run as an independent for the senate is not a benefit to him, since it means the party can oppose him in general elections and doesn't necessarily have any obligation to give resources to his campaign. The idea that he gets some unfair benefit out of running as an independent is truly bizarre (and he obviously has run as a Dem for president both times). Also, when you register to vote in VT, you don't register as a member of a party at all, so he isn't registered as an I or a D.