New bill would allow unaffiliated voters to participate in state primaries

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(WBRE/WYOU) — A bill to open up the state’s primary elections to all voters is moving through the state capitol, passing in the Senate last week.

Senate Bill 300 would open up Pennsylvania primaries allowing unaffiliated voters to cast a ballot. There are about 785,000 unaffiliated voters registered in the state. But right now, they can only vote on ballot questions in the primaries, so many don’t show up.

If this bill passes, it would allow those independents to participate. They would choose either a Democrat or Republican ballot and could cast their votes on one of them.

16 other states have open primaries. Supporters of the bi-partisan bill say it’s time to do the same here.

“I believe that allowing independents to be injected into the primary process helps moderate some of the candidates. Helps send people to Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. that can compromise on issues. And I think it’s certainly a step to help bring back democracy and compromise in our political process,” bill sponsor Senator Joe Scarnati said.

There was also a movement to allow third party voters to cast votes in primaries but that bid failed.

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