In the state of Pennsylvania, is it permissible to routinely change political parties, independent of a change or lack-thereof to one's permanent political views? For example, one may wish to switch parties in order to vote in a particular primary election, but have no intent to persist in the new party afterwards.

Are there any limits to the number of times one can switch political parties over time? Are there any other rules that make frequent changes of affiliation difficult?

  • I've edited to remove the aspect asking if it "frowned upon". That is a matter for personal ethics and primarially opinion based. I've added a supplementary question "are there rules that make changing party difficult", as this seems to be the intention of your question, and fits with the answer already given.
    – James K
    May 6, 2019 at 8:31

1 Answer 1


There are no requirements in the state of Pennsylvania as to what party you can join nor the reasons why you join. You can admit your reasoning freely. You can change your party as often as you want, but not less than thirty days before an election in which you want the changed registration to apply. So today (May 6th of 2019) is too late to change your party for the 2019 primary on May 21st. But you are otherwise free to change your political party before every primary--so long as you do so at least a month ahead of time.

Pennsylvania voter registration rules

You might also consider writing in a candidate from the other party if you don't like any from your current party.

  • 2
    Regarding the final suggestion, this would not contribute to the candidate's chances of winning (unless a large number of voters from your own party did the same), since your vote would be isolated from the bulk of the desired candidate's votes in another party, correct?
    – user26507
    May 6, 2019 at 15:47
  • It's isolated. But if your candidate gets more votes than the candidates in your party, your candidate may win your party's primary. This mostly helps if your party is not fielding a full slate of candidates so that the small number of write-in votes actually matter. Of course, as Joe Crowley found out, appearing on the ballot as the wrong party does not lead to general election success.
    – Brythan
    May 6, 2019 at 19:13
  • I would just point out that changing political party affiliation only really becomes problematic if you are running for office, having already committed to another party (I.e. If you hold elected office as a Republican and you switch your party to Democrat, your constituents will get upset with you. The Reverse is true as well). Switching parties to vote a weaker party candidate is also a viable tactic that tends to happen often.
    – hszmv
    May 7, 2019 at 17:58
  • As similar situation exists in Ohio, however there is a rather obscure provision of OH law that requires the voter to adhere to the party platform, so switching out of party registration (for the primary) for the purpose of either advancing or undermining a candidate that the voter does not expect to support in the general is viewed (by strict constructionists) as voter fraud.
    – BobE
    May 11, 2019 at 2:38

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