Calling it a “relic,” State Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-18) announced Tuesday that a ballot reform initiative she’s introduced would do away with the straight party voting option in Pennsylvania’s elections.
“Informed and committed voters make our democracy stronger,” Boscola said in a news release about her Senate Bill 421, which unanimously cleared a state senate committee Tuesday. “The straight party voting option is a relic. In fact, Pennsylvania is one of only eight states that still permit the option.”
Boscola said voters would still have the option of voting for all candidates from the same political party, but would need to take an extra minute or so to work their way down the ballot and vote for those candidates individually.
“We need less partisanship in both government and the voting booth,” she said. “This legislation is aimed at elevating a candidate’s qualifications over their party affiliation, helping to make certain voters pay attention to down-ballot candidates and statewide and local ballot initiatives.”
Now that Senate Bill 421 has cleared the State Government Committee, it moves on to the full Senate for a possible vote.
Boscola also announced that the State Government Committee also approved Senate Bill 300, which would allow registered independent voters to vote in primary elections.
“The idea of permitting Independents to fully participate in our democracy has been something I have been pushing for since my time in the House,” she said. “Today, the committee moved a colleague’s bill that gets us one step closer to achieving that goal and I look forward to voting for Senate Bill 300 when it comes up for a vote on the Senate floor.”
“There are too many local races where elections are decided in the primary,” she added, “particularly judicial races and school board races and Independents deserve to be able to cast a meaningful vote in these elections.”
Boscola’s state senate district includes Hellertown borough and Lower Saucon Township.