Some legislative districts in York County are so safely Republican that Democrats have been known to switch party affiliation before primary elections.

They feel it's the only way they can influence the ultimate outcomes, since Democratic candidates don't have realistic shots in General Elections.

It's a matter of practicality trumping ideology: If you can't beat them, join them – at least for the primary – and have a say in who represents you.

There's always time to return to the Democratic fold for the General Election.

Voters can blame the registration flip-flopping on Pennsylvania's closed primary system, which allows only registered Republicans and Democrats to vote in their respective parties' nominating contests.

Independent, non-affiliated voters are completely shut out and can't participate until November, when people can vote for members of any party.

Temporarily switching affiliation is a hassle — not just because of the paperwork, but because those who do so can't vote in any race on their "native" party's primary ballot.

Switch for one contest, you're in for all.

It's a trade-off, and one some York County Republicans are becoming familiar with as the 2014 primary approaches.

The county Department of Elections and Voter Registration reports an uptick in the number of GOP voters seeking information about switching their affiliation.

"Then that's usually followed up by them saying they want to vote for Tom Wolf," said elections director Nikki Suchanic.

Wolf, a well-known and well-liked local businessman, is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in the May 20 primary.

The respect for Wolf runs so deep, even York County's Republican committee chairman isn't surprised some GOP voters are jumping ship to support him.

"It's York County, and Tom Wolf is from York County," Bob Wilson said. "A hometown guy on the ballot running for a race such as that, it's expected. I'll be the first to say, despite our philosophical differences, Tom is a very likeable individual. A nice guy."

No argument here.

And we think voters of any political stripe should have the right to support quality candidates like Wolf without having to turn in their party cards.