In 1842, James Shellito of Sadsbury Township was upset with the procedure used by the Crawford County Democratic Party for choosing its nominees. He proposed a change that instead of a designated few choosing the party’s nominees for the general election in a behind-closed-doors session, all the registered Democrats should be allowed to choose the nominee. The matter was put to a vote and others agreed with Shellito. Thus, the “primary election” as it is known today was born. The primary election is defined as the election held by the two major political parties (Republican and Democrat) to choose their respective nominees for the fall election. Although states have primary elections, the types of primary elections differ from state to state.
Pennsylvania is one of nine states which have a close,,jd primary, which means only registered Republicans and Democrats may vote for their own parties. They must be registered 30 days before election day.
Other states have open primaries, which allow independents and other registered voters beside Republicans and Democrats to vote if they are registered ahead of time. Still others have same-day registration, which allows people to register at the polls on primary election day but must declare which party they want to vote and can only cast votes for that party.
Still others allow the parties themselves to decide who can vote in the election. Some have partially open primaries as well.