Primary elections, the two-party system, and a bipartisan option

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, May 19, 2013

If you’re reading this, you know Pennsylvania has a primary election on Tuesday, May 21.

In theory, parties stand for different principles, and primaries give Republican and Democratic voters the chance to choose who best represents their principles.

Pennsylvania has closed primaries, that is, only R’s can vote in the R primary and only D’s vote in the D primary.

Then, in the November general election, those voters (of any or no party) who take the trouble to vote (usually around 1 in 4 in an off-year) choose the winners.

In the May 21 primary, suppose you are a registered Democrat. All candidates on your primary ballot are Democrats, right? Wrong!

Through a bizarre fiction, judicial and school board elections are considered non-partisan, so that R’s can “cross file” by submitting D signatures to get on the D ballot for those positions, and vice versa. …

keep reading at Politics: A View from West Chester


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