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Record-Shattering Number of Pennsylvanians Switch Party Registration ahead of Presidential Primary

Created: 31 March, 2016
Updated: 16 October, 2022
1 min read

More than 214,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania have switched their party registration ahead of the April 26 primary in order to participate in this year's competitive presidential contests, according to Pennsylvania's election office.

The Morning Call reports that about half of those switching their party registration became Republicans, one-third registered as Democrats, and one-eighth joined a minor party.

The article states:

"Complete state records on voter registration changes before 2009 were not available Wednesday. But pollster and public affairs professor G. Terry Madonna of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster said he believes the rate of party switching is a modern record in Pennsylvania... While most party switchers joined the Republican Party, the news wasn't all good for the GOP. More unaffiliated or third-party voters joined the Democratic Party this year — 52,200 became a Democrat, while 42,600 switched to the GOP — and Democrats signed up more new voters this year, 70,000 to 55,500, according to state data. Democrats are heading into the primary with slightly above 4 million voters; Republicans with nearly 3.1 million."

Pennsylvania uses a closed primary system for its presidential contests, meaning only registered members of a party can participate in that party's taxpayer-funded primary election. For hundreds of thousands of voters, voting for their candidate of choice was conditioned on them switching parties or joining a party, but 841,428 registered independents are still barred from primary elections they help pay for.

Update: The Pennsylvania Department of State reported Monday, April 4, that the number of party switchers as of the last report was159,000, not 214,000. Election officials are blaming human error for the slightly inflated numbers, but the number is expected to climb into the April 18 registration deadline. 

Read The Full Morning Call Article Here

Photo Credit: The York Dispatch

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