State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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More in PA shun the two major parties

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 29, 2014 5:07 PM
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Unaffiliated voters are on the rise in the commonwealth, in spite of election policies that show deference to the Republican and Democratic parties.

Independents' head count has grown steadily over the past decade in Pennsylvania, now making up about 13 percent of all voter registrations in the commonwealth.

"It reflects large dissatisfaction with both of the major parties right now in Pennsylvania and nationally -- a fairly disaffected population in terms of its views on politics in general right now," said Christopher Borick, political science professor at Muhlenberg University.

Borick made his comments on WITF's Smart Talk, adding that the rise in unaffiliated voters comes as overall voter registration in the commonwealth has declined.

Pennsylvania has had a smaller number of registered independents relative to its neighbors for years.

"Much of that is to do with our rules on primary elections -- only allowing individuals registered with a party to vote in those party primaries," Borick said.

Advocates at the non-profit Independent Pennsylvanians say the state's closed primary law is just one example of unaffiliated voters bring treated like second-class citizens. The group says independent candidates have to clear a higher bar to get on the ballot, compared to major and minor party candidates.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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