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Should Pennsylvania’s primaries be open to all registered voters?

  • Scott LaMar
A sign outside the Mount Joy Borough Offices directs voters on Nov. 3, 2020.

 Kate Landis / WITF

A sign outside the Mount Joy Borough Offices directs voters on Nov. 3, 2020.

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Airdate: Monday, April 18, 2022

Pennsylvania’s primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 17. Only Democrats and Republicans are eligible to vote for candidates in their respective parties’ primary. Nearly 1.3 million Pennsylvanians are registered with a third party or unaffiliated with the two major parties. None of those voters can cast a ballot in the primary. History shows the voter turnout for the primary will be low too.

The good government group Committee of Seventy is among the election reform minded who want to open Pennsylvania’s primary to all registered voters, saying primaries would be more competitive and wouldn’t cater to the most extreme elements in the parties. They also point out that all Pennsylvania taxpayers contribute to the multi-million dollar cost to run the primary but more than a million people can’t vote.

David Thornburgh, Senior Advisor and Chair, BallotPA, a project of the Committee of Seventy, appears on Monday’s Smart Talk to make the case for open primaries.

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