Report: Pennsylvania Primaries Fifth Most-Expensive in the Nation

An analysis by Open Primaries claims the state's taxpayers had to foot the bill for some of the nation's most expensive primaries.

Nonprofit Open Primaries released a recent study that claims to highlight how much the primaries cost taxpayers this year, and Pennsylvania primaries were the fifth most-expensive in the country, according to the study.

State taxpayers paid $20 million to hold the closed primaries, according to the report, meaning independent voters – who were barred from voting – still had to bear the cost. 

Pennsylvania primaries ranked fifth-highest, behind New York, Illinois, Maryland and California, which ranked highest at $96 million, the analysis found.

The analysis reportedly relies on contacts from the office of the Secretary of State, state elections commissions and governor recommendations on budget costs. The data was retrieved from state budget reports from 2012 and 2016, the organization says.

The expenses of primary elections largely come from operating costs, according to Jeremy Gruber, the senior vice president of Open Primaries.

The organization found the average cost per state with closed primaries to be more than $12 million and the average cost for all states to be more than $10 million.

According to Open Primaries, 26.3 million voters in closed primary states were prevented from casting a vote.

Open Primaries is an election reform organization that advocates for open primary ballot initiatives throughout the country. The report claims that, nationwide, the presidential primaries cost taxpayers more than $287 million in closed primary states and more than $427 million for all states.

The full data set is available on the Open Primaries website.

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