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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 5, 2021 12:49 PM
From: Representative Scott Conklin
To: All House members
Subject: Make Every Vote Count!
INELGIBLE TO VOTE. These are words no qualified voter should hear in Pennsylvania, but sadly, this is often the case for independent, unaffiliated voters during primary elections. Voting is a constitutional right that many have fought for us to have, however, it has been tainted by larger interests that seek to shut out persons who are not a member of one of the two largest parties in Pennsylvania.

In the past, many current and former Representatives and Senators have introduced proposals that would allow independent voters to participate in primary elections for statewide officials as well as Members of the General Assembly. Those proposals have raised legal questions and drawn the ire of individuals who believe primaries should be for members of the major parties only. However, during municipal elections, candidates often run on both tickets during the primary due to the smaller number of voters they need to contact for support. As such, members of both parties are often voting for the same candidate during a primary as they would during a General Election. When a candidate wins the nomination for both parties, independent voters are only given one choice in the General Election, unless a candidate attempts a write-in campaign. Because of this, I think it is only fair that Pennsylvania allow independent voters to vote in primary elections for municipal offices.

While legal questions exist about higher offices, there is no doubt the independent voters’ freedom of choice is suppressed by candidates winning the nomination for office on both the Republican and Democrat tickets. If elections are going to be truly free, we must allow independent voters the opportunity to vote in primary elections for municipal offices.

Please join me in giving the same freedom of choice to independent voters that both Republican and Democrat voters already enjoy during municipal primaries.
This bill was previously introduced as House Bill 821 of the 2019-2020 legislative session.