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Some lawmakers want to open Pennsylvania primaries to independent voters

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG – Some top Pennsylvania lawmakers want to allow independent voters to participate in the major parties’ primary elections in an effort to bring more moderates to the polls.

FILE - In this June 30, 2015, file photo, front from left to right, Pennsylvania state Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, state House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, state Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, and state Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, lead a news conference after Republican leaders engineered passage of state budget, liquor privatization and pension bills, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislature say they've agreed to a proposed new map of congressional districts to replace one thrown out last month. The top-ranking House and Senate leaders say their map "complies fully" with directions from the state Supreme Court. They're providing it to the Democratic governor, who has until Thursday to say if he supports it. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)

Currently, only voters registered with a political party may vote in its primary election, leaving unaffiliated voters without a voice until the general election.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, a Republican, said Monday that “the extremes of the parties have taken over the primary process.”

Philly.com reports that House Majority Leader Dave Reed, a Republican, has also expressed support for the idea and Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, a Democrat, has signaled he would be open to it. Democrat Frank Dermody, the House minority leader, has not taken a position.

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