Lawmakers to Launch Open Primary Effort

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s May 17 primary is not far off, and while those not registered Republican or Democrat won’t be able to vote in that election, on Tuesday, April 12, advocates and state lawmakers will launch an effort to open future Pennsylvania primary elections to registered unaffiliated voters, said Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie).

“Participation in Pennsylvania’s primary elections is often very low,” Laughlin said. “The low turnout can in part be attributed to voters feeling disenfranchised by the extremes of both major parties, who have taken control of our primary process. Giving more people the opportunity to have a voice in their representation is an important step toward ensuring democracy.”

Laughlin, who will speak at the April 12 event, is the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 690, which would allow registered unaffiliated voters – those not registered as Republican or Democrat – to vote in primary elections.

Also speaking at the event, which is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on the state Capitol steps, will be David Thornburgh, chair of the Ballot PA initiative; Alan Novak and TJ Rooney, former chairs of the Pennsylvania Republican and Democratic parties; Sen. Maria Collett (D-12), who is the co-prime sponsor of SB 690; and Diana Dakay, a registered Independent voter.

“Senate Bill 690 would give the nearly 1.3 million registered unaffiliated voters in Pennsylvania the right to participate in the primary election process. Specifically, on the day of the primary election, it will allow these voters to choose to cast their vote on either the Republican or Democrat ballot,” said Laughlin. “Voters who are registered Republican or Democrat will continue to be required to vote on their respective ballots.”

Pennsylvania is one of only nine states that bans unaffiliated voters from participating in primary elections.

WHAT: Ballot PA – Repeal Closed Primaries Harrisburg Launch Event

WHEN: Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

WHERE: PA State Capitol Steps



Contact:           Dawn Fidler                          



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