A bill being reintroduced in Wisconsin could change the way primary elections are run.

Currently, under state law, voters casting their ballots in the primary elections must vote exclusively for candidates in the same party or their votes are not valid.

Senate president Fred Risser, D-Madison, said under legislation he will reintroduce, voters would be able to cross party lines in primary elections.

“It seems to be a much fairer approach to electing the best person for the job,” Risser said. “For the most part, voters in Wisconsin are very independent and do not vote solely for candidates in one political party. They are likely to be more interested in the person than in the party affiliation.”

Risser pointed out that four other states — California, Washington, Louisiana and Alaska — have removed restrictions from primary elections.

He said changing the restrictions would encourage more people to head for the polls.

Libertarian candidate Ed Thompson agreed the primary elections should be changed because of the negative impact the current system has on third-party candidates — if voters choose to nominate a third-party candidate, they can only vote for that particular party.

“If I am elected governor, the first thing I would do is change the horrible way the primary is run,” Thompson said. “The person, not the party, should be the key,”