Get our newsletters
Guest Opinion

Vote in the Pa. Primary if you can


Tuesday, April 23 is Pennsylvania’s primary day. The PA Primary is where citizens currently registered as either Republicans or Democrats choose candidates who will represent their respective political parties in the November 2024 general election.

Troubling facts:

(1) Citizens not affiliated as either Republicans or Democrats are disenfranchised from voting in the primary in PA, even though many political decisions are made at the primary level.

(2) As shown in the following paragraph, most citizens do not vote in primaries. Many voters believe primaries are not important, and only vote in general elections. They have the order of importance backwards.

In Bucks County, in the years from 2002 to 2023, the proportion of registered voters who cast ballots in the municipal primaries ranged from 11% to 26%; the proportion of registered voters who voted in the general primaries ranged from 13% to 41%. (Source:

So, it is arguable that a paltry proportion of passionate partisans are making the decisions for all of us about who will represent us in our democracy. Is this acceptable?

This is a plea to our registered, politically affiliated voters — make a commitment to determine which of your party’s candidates will best serve you (or, which will be the ‘least bad’ candidates), by voting on Tuesday, April 23. The more who vote in the primary, the more representative the results will be.

You affiliated with one of the two major political parties. Why? Doesn’t this affiliation make you responsible to vote for whichever party candidates you believe will best represent your party?

Granted, this primary is not especially dramatic, since the U.S. Presidential primary is moot, some of the state races are uncontested, and there are no ballot issues.

Nonetheless, Republications have two decisions to make (PA Attorney General and PA U.S. Representative), while Democrats have three decisions to make (PA Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer.). These decisions should not be made by only the most partisan voters.

To help you make the best decisions, study (1) your party’s website, (2) the Bucks County Herald Voters Guide, which is published in today’s edition, (3), and (4)

The site (online) and the Voters Guide (paper) include the unedited responses of candidates to nonpartisan questions posed by the League of Women Voters.

Consider not voting for candidates not willing to answer these questions. If they won’t tell you what they stand for or what they intend to do if elected, why should you support them?

(You can write in “Not Committed” or leave that contest blank if you can’t support any of the candidates.)

Vote in person at your polling place or by mail-in ballot. (The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is April 16.) If you vote by mail-in ballot, mail it soon, or deliver it in person to the Board of Election (BOE) or to a Drop Box. Your ballot will not count if it is not physically in the BOE office on Election Day.

Also, be sure to follow the directions carefully; mail ballots not properly packaged, or without a signature and a date on the outside envelope may not be counted. A little extra care will avoid your disenfranchising yourself.

If you requested a mail-in ballot but decide to vote in person, you must submit your entire mail ballot at your polling place.

Let’s step up to the plate, politically affiliated voters. Let’s increase the primary voting percentage. Voters should have reasonable choices in November. You are controlling their choices. Your vote matters. Take action. Vote.

Cathy Morano is a member of the league of women voters of Bucks County, a non-partisan organization dedicated to providing voter education and services and advocating for issues. It envisions a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge, and the confidence to participate.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.