The Case for Open Primaries in Pennsylvania

At Patch, Joe Ferraaro makes the case for open primaries in Pennsylvania, where, by means of cross-filing, Democrats and Republicans often succeed in securing the primary nomination of both major parties. The result, in many cases, are non-contested general election. 
People not registered as Democrats or Republicans (Non Major Party or NMPs) are frozen out of the process. Given the exceptionally small numbers of people who vote in these elections, an even more minuscule number can decide who runs the show for the rest of us . . .

In a primary election, we can expect a turnout of about 15 percent of the registered voters, which translates roughly to about 10 percent of the population.  In terms of who votes, that means in a two-way race, only 5 percent of the people need to vote to tell the rest of us what is going to happen—5 percent telling the other 95 percent what to do . . .

Have you ever thought about how much it costs to run an election from a taxpayer standpoint? . . . Now, how fair is it that only members of the major parties may participate in this process? Should the two major parties be called upon to foot the bill because, after all, the primary system is set up for their benefit and their benefit alone?

Cross-filing, as Kane brings up, creates a shut-out situation for those not involved in with these political parties. Is it really one-person/one-vote? I am surprised some hot-shot lawyer hasn’t brought up an "equal protection under the law" type of argument to make this system fall down.  One fair solution may be to completely open up the primary process in Pennsylvania. The parties nominate as they have before, but anyone who is of age and in good standing may cast a primary ballot.
There are a number of active groups seeking to implement open primaries in Pennsylvania, check out Independent Pennsylvanians, for instance.  Another solution, of course, would be to privatize the primary process and make the Democrats and Republicans pay all the costs associated with foisting their misrule on the population.  

NOTE:  A prior version of this post was published yesterday, but was auto-deleted due to some problems at Blogger.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here is an idea for a third party: