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Pennsylvania votes in a closed primary on April 26, meaning only registered party members can vote in their respective elections.

Credit: Julio Sosa

The 2016 Presidential campaign has still not reached an end and this year and the April 26 Pennsylvania primaries will be a competitive prize. 

Earlier primaries are generally more publicized and given a higher level of importance in the media, which is why there is often a culture of scheduling primaries as early as possible. 

“Usually by the time Pennsylvania rolls around it’s pretty clear who the Democratic and Republican nominees are, so it’s a little different this time," Associate Vice President for Federal Affairs Bill Andresen said.

The Pennsylvania primary is a closed primary, which means that in order to vote, an individual must be registered with that party ahead of time. The statewide deadline for registrations was March 28. 

Polling and local experts predict a Democratic victory for Hillary Clinton, who beat then-Sen. Barack Obama in Pennsylvania in 2008.

“Clinton will likely win, as the demographics of a Democratic primary here favor her," Political Science associate professor Matthew Levendusky said in an emailed statement.

Despite Clinton's advantage in the polls, Penn Students for Bernie Director for Programming and Wharton junior Christian Urrutia said, “It’s kind of up in the air right now.”

Urrutia was optimistic about Sanders’ chances, but believes there is a lot of work to be done if he’s going to win. 

“I think it’s also just the revolutionary rhetoric he uses [that] gets people excited," he said. 

On the Republican side, Levendusky said, “Barring a major change in the race, I would expect [1968 Wharton graduate Donald] Trump to do well in Pennsylvania,” but due to the complex system of delegate allocation, “even if Trump wins, both [Sen. Ted] Cruz and [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich should pick up a number of delegates.”

The Republicans have 71 total delegates, which includes 14 at-large delegates selected by party leaders to vote for the winner of the state’s primary and three that are legally bound to vote for the winner. The 54 remaining delegates are elected by voters in each of the 18 congressional districts and are uncommitted, so they can vote for any of the candidates.

On the Democratic side, 127 pledged delegates will be distributed proportionately according to the primary results. Sixty-two other at-large delegates are selected by state party leadership and proportionally awarded to candidates who receive at least 15 percent of the vote. Lastly, 21 superdelegates — consisting of party bigwigs and officials — are free to vote for the candidate of their choice, regardless of vote totals, bringing the total of Democratic delegates to 210. 

Even though Kasich trails Trump and Cruz by hundreds of delegates, Levendusky specifically saw an opening in Pennsylvania for Kasich, who was born outside of the Pittsburgh suburbs.

Penn for Kasich Chair and College junior Joe Kiernan believes Kasich has a shot in Pennsylvania because the demographics are similar to those of Ohio.

“If you look at the general election numbers, it’s pretty clear that Kasich would be the most competitive choice against Clinton,” Kiernan said. “Now that we’re down to the three candidates…[voters] are forced to turn their attention to Kasich.”

No matter the results, Pennsylvania will finally have the spotlight.

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