Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Part 2 -- independent voters; voter access

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Oct 29, 2014 1:56 PM
silhouetted voters waiting in line 600 x 340.jpg

What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, October 30, 2014:

Wednesday's Smart Talk that studied the increase in the number of registered independent voters in Pennsylvania and election and policy-related issues got a tremendous response.  In fact, so many thoughtful listeners called into the program that time didn't allow us to get to them all.  

So Smart Talk is taking the unusual step of offering a pre-election Part 2 program Thursday with Dr. Christopher Borick, professor of political science and Director of Muhlenberg College's Institute of Public Opinion.   

Pennsylvania voter registration statistics indicate the number of registered Democrats and Republicans has fallen between three and five percent since the last gubernatorial election, while those registered as independents or with third parties increased 9%.

As Dr. Borick explained Wednesday, many voters are not happy with the partisan bickering and direction of the two major parties.

Wednesday's program also pointed out dissatisfaction with other aspects of the electoral process - namely redistricting.

In addition, the non-partisan, good government group Common Cause released a report earlier this week that gave Pennsylvania mixed reviews on voter access and registration.

Common Cause Pennsylvania Executive Director Barry Kauffman appears on Thursday's Smart Talk with details.

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  • hhb img 2014-10-29 21:03

    independent voters complain about being blocked from the process during the primary season. They have just as much access as the Republican voters or Democratic voters (I'm talking about voting here, ballot access for candidates is different on the ballot). Just fill out a temporary change of registration before the deadline and vote for pete's sake. You'll here complaints like "I can't associate myself ". Concerns like that make no sense. That voter registration card you need to fill out isn't some litmus test telling you what to believe. It is YOU telling those parties that you are going to be crashing their little party to express your will. It is your right and it is completely cricket.

    • Blyden Potts img 2014-10-30 08:31

      People should not have to join a particular political party to be able to have input into choosing who their political representatives are.

      • hhb img 2014-10-30 21:00

        "Join a Party"? You have been duped. Registering to vote does not make you a 'MEMBER' of anything. I register to vote in the primary for one of the party slates or other (just like everyone else who votes in primaries) and once i have voted i return to my status to 'Non-affiliated'. Yes, this requires that I undertake the herculean task of filling out an addition post card (a card conveniently provided at the polling place by the election workers) I do so gladly. Why won't you? It is literally the least you can do. There is no Democrat or Republican secret clubhouse (at least not one a mere voter would ever be invited to).

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-10-30 08:08

    Ben Emails

    With all the gridlock, voter discontent, partisanship, etc., with Pennsylvania's party registration rules for primaries, why don't people who lean one way (left or right) register for the 'opposite' party so candidates would be more inclined to represent all of us instead of the, so called, base? Wouldn't that help take the edge off politics as we've seen it recently?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-10-30 08:17


    Cyndi Camp From Harrisburg Emails

    Hi, Scott,
    Please remind folks that polling results indicating that a candidate has a big lead over his/her opponent are only opinions until the votes are actually cast. If people think they don't need to vote because their candidate is "going to win," they're in effect giving a vote to the opposing candidate.
    Thanks for a great program!

  • Blyden Potts img 2014-10-30 08:27

    When political parties eliminate competition in elections (e.g. by gerrymandering; by co-opting election into their internal -- and closed -- party primaries; by ballot access laws that discriminate against third party and independent candidates; and various other mechanisms) they not only take away the incentive of politicians to respond to the electorate, they also eliminate the chief means by which government is held accountable to the will of the people. In other words, they eliminate(d) democracy.