To Pennsylvania’s State Senators and Representatives
We are members of Veterans for All Voters and/or Veterans for Pennsylvania Voters, and we represent the millions of independent military veterans who are barred from voting in primary elections. Pennsylvania is one of only nine remaining states that completely excludes independent (unaffiliated) voters from participating in public primary elections.
Pennsylvania’s closed primary elections disenfranchise well over 300,000 Pennsylvania military veterans and service members. Are you content with asking hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania servicemembers to potentially sacrifice their lives for your freedom and then, upon returning home, tell them they cannot vote in the most significant public election in most races? Thanks to partisan gerrymandering, nationally, only 17% of Congressional districts are competitive in the General Election. In most states, even fewer races in November are competitive. As a result, in over 85% of our elections nationwide, the primary election is the only election of consequence, and independents are locked out.
All voters should be allowed to fully participate in all public elections. Taxation without representation was wrong during the time of the Boston Tea Party, 250 years ago, and it is still wrong today. Independent military veterans in Pennsylvania pay taxes that support public elections. And yet, they are barred from participating in those public elections for the “crime” of not joining a private political party.
No private, gain-seeking organization should be allowed to write election rules in its own favor, and then bar certain voters from fully participating in public elections. Is there any other fundamental right that, in order to exercise it, we require citizens to join a private, gain-seeking organization?
Our Congress, and especially “the people’s House” is dangerously dysfunctional. In 2023, we were without a Speaker for over three weeks. During a time of multiple wars abroad and tremendous challenges at home, our nation’s third highest post was vacant. As U.S. military Veterans, we have been directly affected by the dysfunction of Congress, too often with the cost being the lives of fellow service members, or our own health and welfare. The dysfunction is the direct result of an electoral process that forces our elected leaders to placate party bosses, fringe “base” voters, and special interests to stay in office, rather than being responsive to the majority of citizens of their states and districts.
We are veterans from all over the country, and all over the political spectrum, demanding an end to the anti-competitive, anti-democratic practice of closed primary elections. The political marketplace should be a thriving, free marketplace of real competition where the best candidate, with the best ideas wins. And, every eligible voter should be allowed to fully participate in every single public, taxpayer-funded election, regardless of party affiliation.
Will you help upgrade Pennsylvania’s outdated and anti-democratic political operating system? There are two bi-partisan bills pending, to REPEAL closed primary elections. Please sign on to support Senate Bill 400 or House Bills 976 or 979 today!
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran
1. There are approximately 640,000 veterans living in Pennsylvania. Nationally, at least 50% of military veterans do not identify as Republicans or Democrats.