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  • Writer's pictureBarrett Geyer

PA Primary Elections & Cross-Filing

Updated: Apr 13

How Do Primary Elections in PA Work?

Every election year there are two elections - the primary election in May and the general election in November. The goal of the primary election is for voters to decide their party’s candidates who will appear on the ballot for the general election.

Primary elections are either ‘closed’ (partisan) or ‘open’ (nonpartisan). In a closed primary, only registered party voters are allowed to vote. PA holds closed primary elections. Registered democrats will vote for democrat candidates and registered republicans will vote for republican candidates.

How Do You Run for Office?

It all starts with a “nominating petition”. The petition is a collection of signatures from registered voters telling the county to ‘put that person on the ballot’. To run for school board, an individual must submit to the county a petition with a minimum number of signatures from registered voters who have signed.

Remember from above – PA holds a closed primary. Candidates running for office must select which party they belong to and obtain signatures from voters of that party. Except when running for school board.

In PA, school board candidates are allowed to “cross-file”. That is, they can circulate petitions to voters of both parties, regardless of which party the candidate is registered to. While many argue this is done to keep school boards non-partisan, remember from above, PA holds closed primary elections. The primary election, by definition, is a partisan activity.

But don’t take my word for it. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association is also pretty clear on this topic. "School board elections in PA are considered partisan, despite the ability to cross-file"1.

Why Didn't I Cross-File?

It’s a simple answer. I don’t believe in cross-filing. While it may be an unpopular opinion, it doesn’t make sense that individuals can circulate petitions for both parties and appear on both sides of the ballot while being registered to a single party.

To be clear - that does not mean I am a partisan myself. Perhaps that is why so many democrat voters are expressing their support. They recognize my passion for my alma mater and understand that my single goal is to support our school and provide opportunities for our students. This isn't politics - it's about getting back to basics.

Democrat or republican, you will each get 5 votes for school board members. I'm asking you to trust one of those votes with a lifelong resident and graduate of the school. My three primary areas of focus are apolitical and vital to ensuring the long-term success of our district:

  1. Parental & Community Involvement

  2. Educational Excellence

  3. Cost-Conscious Spending

How Do I Vote for Barrett?

The answer will depend on which party you are registered with.

  • Registered Republicans - you will see my name listed on the ballot in the #8 position. Find my name and simply select it!

  • Registered Democrats - my name will not appear on your ballot. Please select any "write-in" box and type in "J. BARRETT GEYER".

What's your opinion? Should school board members be allowed to cross-file when they cannot be registered to multiple parties at the same time?

Should School Board Candidates be Allowed to Cross-File?

  • YES

  • NO


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