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Poll Results: Nearly 3 In 4 Favor Move To Open Primaries

In our unscientific readers poll, nearly three in four respondents believe that Pennsylvania should adopt an open primary system to elect nominees for office in a general election.

Seventy-three percent of the 143 readers who participated said that “everyone should have the opportunity to choose candidates for the general election.”

Just 27 percent (39 votes) were cast for “only party members should be selecting their candidates for office.”

Ballot PA, a project of the Committee of Seventy, is a growing coalition of civic, community and business organizations committed to ensuring independents in Pennsylvania have the right to vote in primary elections. The group contracted with Osage Research for a poll last November about the subject.

In a survey of 850 voters, including 352 Republican Primary, 338 Democratic Primary, and 160 General Election Independents, 55 percent of respondents opposed the current system employed by the Commonwealth, while 73 percent support the move to open primaries.

State Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie), the chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee plans to introduce legislation to end closed primaries and provided his rationale in an op-ed published on the Broad + Liberty website.

“Given that all taxpayers pay for primary elections, and given how decisions and votes by any of these elected leaders could affect the pocketbook of every Pennsylvanian, it’s hard to imagine a more stark example of taxation without representation, especially in local races,” he wrote.

“I have long pushed for sensible reforms to expand the spring primary electorate by allowing independent voters unaffiliated with any political party to vote on candidates. It can be done. A proposal that I backed passed the state Senate, 42-8, with strong bipartisan support in 2019.

“But I believe the potential for success is now firmly within our grasp, especially after fractious debates over election procedures and voting rules. Pennsylvanians want a change.”

Thanks to all who participated.

Should Pennsylvania Move To An Open Primary System?

Yes. Everyone should have the opportunity to choose candidates for the general election (73%)

No. Only party members should be selecting their candidates for office (27%)

One Response

  1. Independents can vote in “closed” primaries in Pennsylvania. They just need to go online and change their party affiliation to match the candidate they want to support. They can change back to independent the day after the primary. It only takes a few minutes online.

    But by all means let’s have open primaries! That way, Democrats can vote for Doug Mastriano to run against Bob Casey and he can lose again.


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    Total Voters: 30

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