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Explainer-What is a Primary Election, and Why Should I Vote?

Pennsylvania’s primary election is used by both the Republican and Democratic parties to choose who they want to be their candidates for the general election in November. 

Alisher Aminov

This is important folks!

Pennsylvania’s primary election is used by both the Republican and Democratic parties to choose who they want to be their candidates for the general election in November. 

In Pennsylvania, you must be registered as either a Democrat or a Republican to vote in a primary. The May Primary is not the same as the November General Election.

In the Primary, Republican candidates are running against other Republican candidates, and Democratic candidates are only running against other Democratic candidates. This is because the point of this election is to choose candidates to face each other in November, not actually to vote to elect a candidate for a position.

Republicans can only vote for Republican candidates; Democrats can only vote for Democratic candidates. This is because there are separate ballots for each party.

Each voter will receive a ballot labeled explicitly for the party they are currently registered under on election day. Therefore, you are not voting against any candidates who are part of a different party.

People who are registered as anything other than Republican or Democrat (Independent, NF, Libertarian, etc.) cannot vote in the Primary election in Pennsylvania. 

So why is this Primary elections so important?

The primary election gives voters the ability to choose the candidate they want to be their political party’s nominee for a specific office. In Pennsylvania, the winner of a primary election is the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes, even if they do not have an outright majority (more than 50% of the vote).

For example: in the May 17th, 2022 Primary, nine Republicans are running for Governor of Pennsylvania. Someone who is registered as a Republican can go to the poll and help their party choose who they want to be the Republican candidate to face the Democratic candidate in November. If you are voting in the Primary, you are NOT voting against another political party.

This process is extremely important and a fundamental part of our Democracy. Not all Republicans are the same, and not all Democrats are the same. The Primary gives voters (you) the ability to choose a candidate or candidates you believe best represent the issues most important to you to go into the November election.

In Pennsylvania, parties must conduct primaries to nominate candidates for the following offices:  Governor of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Attorney General, Pennsylvania Treasurer, PA State Auditor, all State Legislators, U.S. Representatives, and U.S. Senators.

In 2022, we are electing State Senators, State Representatives, a New U.S. (National) Senator, U.S. (National) House of Representatives, Lt. Governor, Governor, and P.A. State Committee Members for each political party.

The State Committee election is for people to choose who they want to run their political party in the State. For example, suppose you are a Democrat. In that case, you will have choices to select who you want to be on the Democratic State Committee. This Committee runs the party in the State.

Do you know who each candidate is for your party in each race or the races most important to you? Have you researched each candidate to select the candidates you feel will represent Pennsylvanians best?

Candidates with the largest signs, most name recognition, or loudest voices might not be the best candidates for the job. Therefore, Pennsylvanians need to make wise choices when hiring these people for their jobs.

Pennsylvania’s primary elections will be held on May 17th, 2022. Pennsylvania needs all registered Republicans and Democrats to get out to the polls and vote!

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