For another point of view, see: Point: Only Party Members Should Vote in Primaries

Next week millions of Pennsylvanians will head to the polls to participate in the primary elections that decide who appears on the November ballot. Unfortunately, more than a million other voters will be left on the sidelines due to our closed primary system.

This is bad for democracy, unfair to those million voters, and leads to candidates running to the extremes of the political spectrum, rather than towards real solutions that would be good for people across the Commonwealth.

According to an analysis of the 2022 primaries conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, states with open primaries saw almost 25 percent higher levels of participation in the election, compared to states with closed primaries. We should be doing everything possible to achieve an increase in primary participation, because in many areas those elections can be strong predictors of who will win in November. If an independent candidate cannot participate in the selection of the candidates who appear on the November ballot, it is understandable that they may lack motivation to show up to the polls.

Increasing participation in our democracy should be a bipartisan goal, but unfortunately in recent years we have seen Republicans doing everything possible to limit voting.

Our Commonwealth and nation are at their best when we have a robust democracy based on an open exchange of ideas. That is how we make true progress at home and maintain our position as a global leader. Closed primaries discourage this exchange and progress.

Open primaries aren’t going to solve every problem in our nation but adopting them would be a good start. We need policies that strengthen democracy, increase voter participation, and bring forward the best candidates. It is time for us to move away from the closed primaries system that has enabled deeply flawed nominees with extreme views that do not represent most Americans and work to put in place a system that will allow our democracy to heal.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or