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Bills on poll watchers, earlier presidential primary advance in Pennsylvania

HUMMELSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 17: A vote sign is seen at Lower Dauphin High School on May 17, 2022 in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians are voting in the primary elections to select candidates from each party for a new governor, lieutenant HARRISBURG, Pa. - Proposals to hold Pennsylvania's presidential primaries in March rather than April and to permit poll watchers to operate outside the counties where they live were advanced Wednesday by a divided House State Government Committee.Both bills had already passed the state Senate and were approved for consideration by the full House.The state's primary during presidential election years would be moved from the fourth Tuesday in April to the third Tuesday in March.

Supporters say the change would position the state to have more of an impact on the parties' choice of presidential candidates."Right now Pennsylvania’s primary really doesn’t matter in the scheme of national politics," said committee chair Seth Grove, R-York, noting a recent exception was the Barack Obama-Hillary Rodham Clinton primary in 2008.The vote was 16-8, with two Democrats joining all Republicans in favor.Grove and the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Scott Conklin of Centre County, both said the bill may need to be altered so that the period of signature gathering does not start around Christmas.The third Tuesday in March is expected to also be the 2024 presidential primary day in Arizona, Florida and Illinois.

In 2020, Pennsylvania’s primary was the same day as votes in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware.The poll watchers' bill, sponsored by the current GOP gubernatorial nominee, Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County, would give candidates the right to have an

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