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Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 22, 2022 09:28 AM
From: Senator Daniel Laughlin and Sen. Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Repeal Closed Primaries
In the near future, we plan to introduce legislation that will repeal closed primaries and allow voters who are registered as independents (those who have checked no affiliation or none on their voter registration form) to vote in primary elections. Specifically, it will allow these voters to choose to cast their vote on either the Republican or Democrat ballot.
Voters who are registered with either the Republican or Democratic Party will continue to be required to vote on their respective ballots.
According to the PA Department of State’s 2021 report, 1,233,748 voters in Pennsylvania are not registered with the largest two political parties. That’s an increase of 51,816 no affiliation/none voters since 2017.
Pennsylvania is one of only 9 remaining states (Delaware, New York, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, and New Mexico are the others) that bars independent voters from participating in primaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some of those voters could include Pennsylvania veterans, since half of all veterans are political independents, along with a high number of young voters, Latino and Asian-American voters, who are much more likely to register as independents. Finally, closed primaries constitute a form of taxation without representation, as all taxpayers pay for primary elections but not all are allowed to participate.
Please join us in supporting this important piece of legislation allowing over 1 million such voters the right to participate in the primary election process. By allowing more of our registered voters to have a voice in choosing their representatives is a vital step toward ensuring the strength of our democracy.

Introduced as SB400