WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Pennsylvania State Senator is pushing for open primaries in Pennsylvania.  

Erie’s State Senator Dan Laughlin (R- Erie) is taking part in the Bipartisan Policy Center’s discussion on primaries. The BPC said primary elections are viewed with a mix of concerns and optimism. And while the primaries are often among the most consequential contests in our politics, voters are largely uninterested. Sen. Laughlin and other lawmakers and election experts talked about primary turnout and reform in the discussion. Before he took part in that event, he spoke with us about getting open primaries for Pennsylvania.

“And I think quite frankly when we talk about all the election issues we’ve talked about in Pennsylvania over these past few years and all the unrest,” said Laughlin. “I think bringing these independent voters in and allowing them to vote in the primary is a little bit of good governance I think this state could use right now.” 

As of now, Pennsylvania is one of just a handful of states that do not allow independent voters to participate in the primaries. According to stats from the state, Erie County alone has under 25-thousand voters who are listed as no political affiliation or with an affiliation other than the two main parties.