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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 30, 2017 01:32 PM
From: Representative Jared G. Solomon
To: All House members
Subject: Allowing “No Affiliation” and “Other” Registered Voters to Vote in Primary Elections
In the near future I plan to reintroduce House Bill 2234 from last session, which will open Pennsylvania’s primary elections to allow all registered voters the opportunity to vote in primary elections. Under current Pennsylvania law, only members of the two major parties are permitted to vote in primary elections in what is known as a closed primary. There are only eight other states that utilize such a system.

Per the Department of State’s January 2016 Voter Registration Statistics Report, 1,184,472 Pennsylvanians are registered outside of the Republican or Democratic party as either “No Affiliation” or “Other;” “Other” including non-mainstream parties. This number equates to about 14% of the total Pennsylvania registered voting population.

It is unfair that while all taxpayers are responsible for paying for primary elections, nearly 1.2 million of them who choose to participate in the political process but not to join a mainstream political party are excluded from voting.

In order to rectify this inconsistency, my proposal amends the Election Code (Act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320)), to allow registered individuals to file an affidavit of provisional registration to vote in a primary election. The affidavit may be filed on the day of the primary with the appropriate election district. This provisional registration would only be valid for that primary election, and will not affect the person’s permanent party affiliation.

Currently, 15 states operate under open primary systems, and 22 have a hybrid, semi-open primary election system. Please join me in adding Pennsylvania to the list of states that offer freedom of choice to all of its voters rather than only members of the two major parties.

Introduced as HB1783