More Pennsylvania voters shun major parties

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    Unaffiliated voters are on the rise in Pennsylvania, in spite of election policies that show deference to the Republican and Democratic parties.

    The head count of independents has grown steadily over the past decade, now making up about 13 percent of all voter registrations in the commonwealth.

     “It reflects large dissatisfaction with both of the major parties right now in Pennsylvania and nationally,” said Christopher Borick, political science professor at Muhlenberg University. “A fairly disaffected population in terms of its views on politics in general right now.”

    Borick made his comments on WITF’s Smart Talk, adding that the rise in unaffiliated voters comes even as overall voter registration in the commonwealth has declined.

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    Pennsylvania has had a smaller number of registered independents relative to its neighbors for years.”Much of that is to do with our rules on primary elections – only allowing individuals registered with a party to vote in those party primaries,” Borick said.

    Advocates at the nonprofit Independent Pennsylvanians say the state’s closed primary law is just one example of unaffiliated voters bring treated like second-class citizens. The group says independent candidates have to clear a higher bar to get on the ballot, compared to major and minor party candidates.

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