Bethlehem, May 3, 2018 — State Senator Lisa M. Boscola (D-Northampton) today said she is encouraged by emerging bipartisan support for her proposal that would allow independent and third-party voters to cast a ballot in the Republican or Democratic primary elections.
“Being an independent voter shouldn’t disqualify someone from having a say in who the candidates will be in the November General election ballot,” Boscola said. “I am pleased to see Republican leaders supporting this growing call for inclusion.”
House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) this week voiced his support for giving independent voters a voice in primary elections. Pointing to 750,000 statewide voters registered as independents or non-affiliated, Reed told Capitol reporters that these voters deserve a voice in primary elections, especially in local races where primaries often decide who the elected candidates will be.
Boscola’s legislation (Senate Bill 280) would allow independent and non-party voters to participate in primary elections. Under her bill, non-affiliated voters could show up on election day and choose which party primary they want to vote in.
The Northampton County lawmaker said only one on six registered voters took part in last year’s primary election. Meanwhile, she said 426,000 non-affiliated voters in the Lehigh Valley were barred from taking part in the primary election (17 percent of registered voters).
“Our democracy doesn’t work if our citizens don’t participate,” Boscola said. “We should be doing all we can to encourage voting. This includes making registration easier, expanding the days and hours that people can vote, better accommodating absentee voters and perhaps allowing people to vote online.”
Boscola first introduced her bill in 2001. Senate Bill 280 is currently under consideration in the Senate Committee on State Government.
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