Solomon introduces legislation to bring open primaries to Pa., stresses importance of democracy and government accountability

Philadelphia, Jan. 29 – State Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., has introduced legislation to bring open primaries to Pennsylvania and strengthen citizen participation.

The legislation, Solomon said, will encourage democratic engagement and remove barriers for all Pennsylvania voters to take part in the selection of candidates for public office.

In 2018, over 1.2 million Pennsylvanians were not affiliated with either major party. This is an over 8% increase since 2014. Every year these numbers continue to grow. In fact, right now unaffiliated is the fastest growing political identification in the commonwealth.

While these individuals all pay taxes and fund the commonwealth’s election system, they have no voice in the state’s primary system. Solomon strongly believes that needs to change.

“My legislation would allow unaffiliated voters to vote in primary elections and therefore be full participants in the democratic process. A more open system encourages greater civic engagement, new ideas, and a healthier democracy,” Solomon said.

“Thirty states provide voters with a greater stake in their primary election than we do in Pennsylvania. Let’s allow taxpayers - who pay into the system - to express their opinion on who should represent them at the local, state, and federal levels of government.”

In their letter in support of open primaries, former heads of Pennsylvania Democratic and Republican parties – T.J. Rooney and Alan Novak – explained why all voters should be able to participate in primaries.

They emphasized that, “primary elections are anything but private. By one estimate, they cost Pennsylvania taxpayers $20 million every year; they are held in public buildings and are overseen by public officials.

“We believe all taxpaying citizens deserve equal treatment,” leaders of opposing parties declared in conclusion of their joint case for a more open democracy.