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  1. #1
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    Question Why vote for a third party candidate?

    I do not discuss politics in person, on Facebook, or on COTH, but I have been so curious about this that I had to post. I do not identify myself as Republican or Democrat - I try to vote for the issues, not the people.

    If you vote for a third party candidate, don't you feel like you are "wasting" your vote? Wouldn't it be better to vote for the one you hate less from the two main parties, so that you might influence the outcome of the election?

    I mean, let's say your first choice is SpongeBob Squarepants and you really want to write him in. You know he is not going to win, so why not vote your second choice, lest your third choice win?

    I am sure some wise COTHers will explain this to me because I am sure I am missing something and there is no way I am going to discuss this with people in person.



  2. #2
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    Jul. 14, 2008
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    I have never voted third party but in our last election for governor I did not like either choice. I wrote in someones name that ran for their party but did not get the nod. I felt like this person was better than the other two. I did not feel like my vote was wasted but that in some small way my tiny protest was heard.


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  3. #3
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    IMHO... it depends greatly on where you live. If you live in a swing state, you should not vote for a third party candidate unless you hate them all so much that you don't care who wins among those who could actually win. If you have a preference amongst the major party candidates who have a chance to win, you should vote for one of them.

    If you live in a state that isn't a swing state, voting for a third pary candidate is a way of bringing the issues/values of that candidate into the mainstream. When a third party candidate gets a meaningful percentage of the vote- (1, 2, 3%)- it makes other people take notice of its existence, and the fact that some people believe in its issues/causes/candidates.


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 22, 2003
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    Home of "The Office", PA
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    I feel that no vote is "wasted" if you vote for the one you truly think could do the best job. If more people did this, maybe option "C" wouldn't be such a long shot.
    Did you know there was something like 4-5 or more official candidates in the first few presidential elections? Wish we could do away with the 2 party system and at least recognize the Green and Liberitarian parties.

    And heck, if you vote "C" and A/B (whoever wins) screws up, you can say, "Hey, I didn't vote for either clown." ;-)
    The only thing the government needs to solve all of its problems is a Council of Common Sense.


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  5. #5
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    Feb. 22, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddys Mom View Post
    If you vote for a third party candidate, don't you feel like you are "wasting" your vote? Wouldn't it be better to vote for the one you hate less from the two main parties, so that you might influence the outcome of the election?
    No and no.

    I vote for the candidate whose ideas and policies match closest with my own.

    IMO, the most truly radical, crazy-ass, offensive, un-American idea on offer in the election was the policy of the executive branch to compile a 'kill list' of American citizens (and non-citizens) who were to be denied any due process and summarily executed, preferably by drone strike, most likely with collateral deaths of anyone in the general vicinity.

    That is something I cannot vote for, yet it is the POLICY of the Obama administration, and it was a policy that Romney supported.

    So tell me why I should vote for either of these men?

    I am firmly anti-war, anti-surveillance of Americans, anti-indefinite detention, against the wars on whistleblowers and drugs, pro single-payer health care, and pro civil and individual liberties.

    I voted for Dr. Jill Stein. I did not throw my vote away. I voted for policies that I support, and I will continue to do so in future elections.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Mar. 19, 2003
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    Palestine, TX
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    I didn't vote third party because honestly I had not even heard of those running until I looked at my ballot... butit got me thinking... maybe this could have been the year for good old Ross Perot!

    I think that it's important for people to vote with their beliefs even if they know it's not a winning vote... because the big parties need to see that not everyone is pleased with them running the show. Honestly... is anyone really completely happy with either party? No. Most of us are fed up. But there has to be a way to send that message. There may not have been any electoral votes go the way of a third party, but there are a couple Senate seats held by independents. Maybe that's a few people that will actually get soemthing done.
    *#~*#~*#~*#~*
    Proud Momma of *Capital Kiss* and Bottle Rocket!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2008
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    People, it's really simple ......... SINGLE TRANSFERABLE VOTE

    That way your vote is never wasted. You could vote Libretarian and give your 2nd choice to Romney. Vote Green Party with the Dem getting your 2nd preference. You could have voted for Nader in 2000 and felt good doing so knowing your vote would have transfered to Gore.
    You would never have a need for run-offs or someone getting elected with less than 50% of the vote.

    I can't for the life of me understand why people are so opposed to this, or don't even know about it.
    ----//\\----
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  8. #8
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    Sep. 18, 2000
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    It's kind of a chicken/egg scenario. People won't vote for third party candidates because they have no chance of winning, and they don't have any chance of winning because people won't vote for them.

    Other countries manage to have political systems with more than two parties. I think we should be able to manage it.

    A couple of things might improve the situation. One would be campaign finance reform and/or public financing, so a candidate has a decent chance of winning even without raising umptygazillion dollars from special interests.

    Another would be changing our voting system to an instant runoff system, or some other similar system, so that in a race with multiple candidates, people could vote for the one they liked most, and then choose the lesser of evils for second choice, so they wouldn't have to worry about their vote actually helping the one they liked least.


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  9. #9
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    Jul. 5, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpsoMatt View Post
    It's kind of a chicken/egg scenario. People won't vote for third party candidates because they have no chance of winning, and they don't have any chance of winning because people won't vote for them.
    ^^^ yup

    I did vote for Ross Perot though.



  10. #10
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    OK, thank you for the thoughtful discussion!
    I guess living in a swing state had colored my thinking.



  11. #11
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    Sep. 16, 1999
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    I voted 3rd Party this election (Gary Johnson, Libertarian) and have done so in the past. No, I do not feel my vote is being wasted.

    1) I found enough flaws in each of the "big 2" candidates, that to vote for them would feel hypocritical. While no one is perfect, their imperfections were simply policies/beliefs that I cannot get behind.

    2) I feel voting for someone just so the "other" guy doesn't win, is voting out of fear and IS wasting a vote. As is voting out of apathy or not voting at all. I am proud of my country and my rights and feel that voting IS an amazing right that we have... to not use it to stand for what you feel is right... THAT is wasting a vote.

    3) I cannot condone a system that bars from basic political candidate debates ANY candidates who are statistically able to win an election. 3rd party candidates have to do a LOT of hoop-jumping to get on ballots. Both the Libertarian party and the Green party jumped enough hoops to get on enough ballots (50 and 37 respectively) that they COULD have won. Why were they not included in the debates? It's reprehensible and needs to change. As does the access to public funds. By voting for a 3rd party, I gave them a chance to, IN THE FUTURE, have those things. The Libertarians needed 5% of the vote. They didn't get it this time but that doesn't mean my vote wasn't heard. This morning I woke to a friend ranting about the 72,270 "morons" as he put it who wasted their votes on 3rd parties. If a party wants my vote next time, perhaps the fact that they didn't get it this time will make them question why... doesn't sound like my vote was wasted at all if that happens.

    4) I refuse to be a sheep. I'm not saying anyone is, but I will not vote for someone just because they're popular, or because I feel I will be hated upon if I don't. The latter HAS happened (see the paragraph above... what my friend said hurt a lot) and I'm still here WITH my right of free speech intact as much as anyone elses... WITH my right to vote for whomever I choose intact as much as anyone elses.

    5) Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same results. This wasn't my first election. I'm not going to vote for the same people that I have in the past, the same people who will give me the same processes and rhetoric that I'm completely fed up with, and expect them to change. I became sane and did something different. I was under no delusions that Gary Johnson was going to be the next president. My hope was that by standing up, it might encourage others who are tired of the status quo to stand up and OVER TIME we can make a change in the system.
    ************
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


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  12. #12
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    Mar. 30, 2009
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    I live in California.

    My vote is already wasted.

    I voted with 1% of the population. And I'm proud I did!
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

    Fourteen Months Living and Working in Costa Rica


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpsoMatt View Post
    A couple of things might improve the situation. One would be campaign finance reform and/or public financing, so a candidate has a decent chance of winning even without raising umptygazillion dollars from special interests.
    Totally agree. I think it should be public money (yeah, I know... I'm anti-tax and I'm saying this but hear me out). Candidates who make the ballot in said state get X amount of dollars to spend... AND THAT'S IT! It HAS to be accounted for obviously and any money not spent (yeah right) gets returned to the state. Put campaign financing on a level playing field. Candidates get X dollars. No fund raising. No multi-billionaires giving campaign contributions. NO MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR CAMPAIGNS!! MY VOTE IS NOT FOR SALE!!

    Do I like that this would have meant Roseanne Barr would get money as she was a candidate that was on 3 states' ballots? Not really, but it's a fair system to give everyone a chance.
    ************
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike



  14. #14
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    Aug. 2, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by tle View Post
    3) I cannot condone a system that bars from basic political candidate debates ANY candidates who are statistically able to win an election. 3rd party candidates have to do a LOT of hoop-jumping to get on ballots. Both the Libertarian party and the Green party jumped enough hoops to get on enough ballots (50 and 37 respectively) that they COULD have won. Why were they not included in the debates? It's reprehensible and needs to change.
    Oh, I think including the other candidates in debates could have been very helpful so more people could be introduced to their platforms.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddys Mom View Post
    Oh, I think including the other candidates in debates could have been very helpful so more people could be introduced to their platforms.
    That's what actually started me down the 3rd Party support path in 2006, during the Ohio Gubernatorial race. There was a debate planned that was to focus on the economy ... only the R and D candidates were allowed. The L candidate that year WAS AN ECONOMICS PROFESSOR!!! No one can say that he wouldn't have ADDED to the debate -- except maybe the R and D candidates as they didn't want to be shown up! It's ridiculous.
    ************
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey the Marcher View Post
    People, it's really simple ......... SINGLE TRANSFERABLE VOTE
    I wholeheartedly agree!



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddys Mom View Post
    Oh, I think including the other candidates in debates could have been very helpful so more people could be introduced to their platforms.
    Also, the 'debates' might have been actual debates. The foreign policy one was ridiculous. The two candidates from 'opposing' parties agreed on everything.

    What's the point of having a debate in which no views are challenged or questioned?



  18. #18
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    Another nice thing about having more candidates in debates is that the "fringe" candidates are usually more likely to give straightforward honest answers to questions. The major candidates are so worried about winning that they don't want to say anything that might offend somebody. So they talk around in circles and when they're done you realize the question never got answered. The minor candidates are more likely to give straight answers.

    You can see the same thing just looking at the candidates websites. The major candidates just want a world full of unicorns farting butterflies, without saying how they'll make it happen. The minor candidates are more likely to list very specific things that they would support or oppose.


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  19. #19
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    Jun. 23, 2006
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    I vote third party (or write in, this year) for many of the reasons already mentioned. I can't stomach voting for either of the major party candidates. I have idealogical issues with both parties and don't think either one really has an interest in actually fixing problems. I don't want to have to choose the lesser of two evils and I don't want to vote out of fear. I want to vote because it irks me when people who don't vote complain instead of doing something, so I vote in a way that gives me a clear conscience.

    In a way, my vote is "wasted," but then so is every vote for someone other than the candidate who wins their state unless the state splits electoral college votes. By that measure, no one should bother to vote Democrat in Oklahoma or Republican in California. I consider voting for someone I actually agree with and believe in to be a way of letting my pathetic little voice be heard.

    I fully support instant runoff voting where you rank your choice of candidates and they keep redistributing votes until a candidate has a majority. I also sincerely wish the US system was more than a two-party system. I think the two-party systems does a great disservice to America and to Americans. To go along with that, I support campaign finance reform to the point where I've written my congressman about it.


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  20. #20
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    I don't want anyone to think I actually support any of the clowns/criminals who run for office from the major parties. If there was a way to vote AGAINST them I'd do that, but as it as, all you can do is refuse to support them by voting for them and instead vote for someone else. If you vote for the lesser of two evils, they count your vote as supporting that person.


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