On Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, the American people will cast their ballot for president. Will we have four more years with Barack Obama, or will a to-be-determined GOP candidate take the win?
The general presidential election tends to yield a voter turnout of about 50 percent of the voting-age population, a much higher turnout than local or primary elections. However, by Nov. 6 there will only be two choices for president of the United States of America. And a lot of times, voters are not really happy with either option A or option B.
As of late, there seem to be fewer differences between the two candidates ultimately chosen to square off, each with a 50/50 chance of becoming the most powerful person in the world. And let’s face it, the political system is rigged in favor of the two-party set-up, making it very unlikely that we will see a successful third-party or independent bid for the presidency. You should get more options than A or B.
Unfortunately, our choices will be limited, but there is another date on which you will have far more choices. That is April 24, 2012, the date of the Pennsylvania primary election. Primaries give citizens a say in who their political party nominates to run for president in November.
Since Barack Obama is obviously going to be the Democrats’ chosen candidate, that party will not have a primary election for president in 2012.
The Republican Party will hold a primary or caucus in each state early in the year before having a national convention to officially nominate one candidate. Pennsylvania residents who are at least 18 years old, have citizenship, are not convicted felons and are registered under the Republican Party, will be able to vote April 24. For more information on Pennsylvania voting requirements, and to register to vote, visit votespa.com.
Pennsylvania is a closed primary state, meaning that independent and third-party voters can vote in general elections but not in primary elections. In order to vote in the Republican primary on April 24, you must register Republican at least 30 days prior to the election.
Regardless of which party you register with, you can still vote in the general election. Voting in the primary gives you the chance to be more involved with the process. Instead of getting to choose between two candidates on Nov. 9, by voting in the primary earlier in the year, you help narrow down the field to a suitable candidate to compete for the presidency a few months later.
To register to vote or to change your party registration so that you are eligible to vote in the Pennsylvania primary, visit votespa.com You will have a simple form to fill out which can be faxed or mailed to the registration official in your county.
Remember, Pennsylvania is a closed primary state so you should register as a Republican at least 30 days in advance of the primary election to be able to participate. Also, remember that, regardless of your party registration, you can vote for whoever you want in the general election. Changing your registration simply gives you the opportunity to choose a suitable candidate who will ultimately have a 50/50 chance of becoming the next president of the United States.
On Nov. 9, you will get to choose between Obama and one Republican. But on Apr. 24 you can choose between Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Gary Johnson, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry and Ron Paul. You are much more likely to find a candidate whose views match your own when there are nine candidates to choose from than when there are just two in the general election. Do your research now. Find a candidate you feel represents your values.