North Texas Daily

Voting for third party is viable alternative

Voting for third party is viable alternative

Voting for third party is viable alternative
July 06
10:42 2020

When voting for president in November every four years, if you are over the age of 18 and meet the often strenuous qualifications to participate, you are given two options, Democrat and Republican. These candidates are often highly publicized and known by the public, whether for good or bad, and many people will go into their polling place with a chosen candidate who will receive their vote for president. However, most people do not often completely agree with either party and in fact, may dislike both of these two candidates, which can often lead to low voter turnout or even a lack of faith in the electoral system.

Luckily, there are more options, despite the low amount they are talked about in the media and within the general public. The historically most popular third party options are Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties, but are not even present in all 50 states and usually make up only a small percentage of the votes for president in November. This is because of various reasons, one common reasoning is the belief that voting third party is a waste of a vote and not a viable option, and essentially has no effect on the outcome. This has been pushed to the point that they are not mentioned at all, and the two-party system has become the norm, despite the clear drawbacks this has had on our political system.

Most people will end up voting for a third party because they simply agree more with the other party options over Democrat or Republican, and they feel more comfortable casting their vote in favor of this person rather than the popular or more expected option. People will call this a waste of a vote, or see it as a form of protest, which in some cases it can be. The same citizens that claim voting is an essential duty as an American will shame others for voting for the person they believe best fit, this often contradicts their ideals of freedom and choice. The Democrat and Republican parties have become highly polarizing over the years, and with approximately 35% of the U.S. population claiming to be moderate, these parties often make the most sense.

Often these parties are not allowed in debates and in many states, not even a place on the ballot. For a third party to be on the ballot in their state they have to reach a certain number of petition signatures, pay large sums of money or various other options, just to get the same treatment of the two major parties. According to the rules of the Federal Election Commission, achieving 5% of a vote during the presidential election will allow for public funding of these parties so we can eventually have more options when voting for president. Many of these hurdles faced by third parties are undemocratic and it is often difficult to make any headway as a party due to the cycle needing to pay to be on the ballot but then needing a certain amount of votes to receive funding. Therefore, in some cases, people choose to vote for these parties not only based on political beliefs but also to combat the unfair system they are a part of.

A more current reason behind why people are leaning towards third parties voting is due to the corrupt actions of both popular political parties, and people are not going to knowingly vote for a person they inherently disagree with. This becomes a problem when people are faced with two of those options, and from strife within political parties, such as within the Democratic party with a split between corporate centrists and progressive grassroots candidates, turns many voters to the popular third party option, the Green Party. Many infamous politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez share similar values with the Green party, but then the party goes even further away from traditional political beliefs which many people are beginning to lean towards.

Whether or not you choose to vote Democrat, Republican, or a third party option, it is important to agree that all citizens should have equal access to the polling booths and barriers to a third party is the opposite of the democratic process of fair and free elections.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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Keaton Hare

Keaton Hare

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