The sponsor of a bill to open up Pennsylvania’s primaries says he’s encouraged by the fact five of the six gubernatorial candidates would support allowing independents to vote in the partisan elections.
Under current Pennsylvania law, independent voters can’t take part in Republican or Democratic primaries.
Representative Eugene DePasquale, a York County Democrat, is sponsoring a bill to change that.
He received some good news during a recent gubernatorial forum, when every candidate but Democrat Anthony Williams supported an open primary system.
"I was on Twitter when it was happening, but not necessarily to follow the governor debate. Then I saw all these tweets coming across – that said, hey this candidate supports open primaries. And this one, this one, this one. Then I basically sort of hollered out in the house, “hey they’re all endorsing my legislation, without even knowing it.”
DePasquale acknowledges it’s likely too late to change the law before this year’s May 18th primary, but says he’ll pressure the next governor to support the legislation in 2011.
His bill would let independents choose one primary to vote in. A person would not be allowed to vote in the Republican gubernatorial primary, but also cast a ballot in the Democratic Senate contest, for instance.
17 states currently have open primaries.