Protests Planned in Philly Over Exclusion of independents

Protests Planned in Philly Over Exclusion of independents

Protesters will be picketing some Philadelphia-area polling places next month. Independent voters are irritated because they’re prevented from casting ballots in the primary election.

A million voters not affiliated with a party are disenfranchised because Pennsylvania holds “closed primaries” open only to registered Democrats or Republicans, said Jennifer Bullock, director of the group Independent Pennsylvanians.

“There are more and more states that are either opening up their primaries or dismantling primaries altogether in favor of a top-two system that California and Washington State have,” she said. “And and we want to be one of the states that joins that list.”

Bullock said it’s not fair to make the public pay for an election that benefits only two political parties.

“The primaries are a kind of an obvious classic holdover of this concept that, really, our election system is really for and by the two parties,” she said. “Which it’s not, because if it was a private organization process, then the private organization should pay for it.”

The group plans multiple protests on May 20, calling for changes to the primary system.

Registered Democrats and Republicans in Pennsylvania will choose nominees for governor as well as candidates for other offices.

The one area where independents can participate is when there are questions on the ballot or a special election being held at the same time. In Philadelphia, there is a special contest to fill an at-large City Council seat. Voters of all stripes can cast ballots in that, even though the election is being held on May 20 as well.

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