Thousands of Republicans and Independents were re-registering as Democrats to participate in Pennsylvania’s closed Democratic primary before the March 24th deadline. On April 22nd, Pennsylvania will go to the polls. The purpose of a closed primary is to keep voters affiliated with other parties from participating. It makes sense. Why should a Republican be allowed to help choose the nominee for the Democrats, and vice versa? Beyond that, if a state chooses to have closed primaries, it doesn’t make sense to allow voters to switch parties less than a month before the vote!
Conservative radio talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and others have been telling their Republican listeners to temporarily register as Democrats in states with closed primaries. They want them to vote for Hillary in order to keep her viable, hoping to prolong the Democratic race and fracture the party. They are taking advantage of an opening in the sysytem, not to mention the fact that Republicans already have a nominee. In states that haven’t voted yet, Republicans are trying to influence the race on the Democratic side. Nobody could have anticipated a primary season like this, and many states need to update their voting rules.
Kentucky is a closed primary state. Voters go to the polls May 20th. If you’re a registered Republican or Independent hoping to get a piece of the Democratic action, you’re out of luck! Not only is the primary closed, but Kentucky has a little known law in place to prevent “party raiding”… Party raiding is when voters change party affiliation in order to influence the vote. To prevent this, Kentucky has two deadlines for people to register. New voters have until April 21st to register. But if you’re already registered and simply wanted change party affiliation, you had to do so before December 31st of last year to be eligible to vote in the May 20th primary… Sorry party crashers!
Over 9,000 registered voters in Kentucky have changed party affiliation since the beginning of the year, but most are just learning they are too late.