Don’t waste your vote with a third party

A line of early voters wait in queue at the Franklin County Board of Elections, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. Heavy turnout has caused long lines as voters take advantage of their last opportunity to vote before election day. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Today is Election Day. Almost a year and a half of campaigning has led up to this moment. Many people are saying that this is the most contentious election of late, and many others are saying that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump is a real choice in the election. The hatred for both candidates has led to the rise of two third party candidates, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. Johnson is currently polling six percent nationally and Stein is currently polling two percent nationally. More than any election in the past, this one will have the biggest impact on what happens in the future. The United States is finally recovering from a huge recession as the rest of the world begins to fall apart. The next president will have to deal with all of those changes, and frankly neither of the third party candidates can handle it. There is way too much on the line in this election to give one of them your vote.

I do not want to tell anyone whom they should specifically vote for. That’s a decision you have to make, and if voting for a third party candidate is what you want to do, then go for it – but just know that you are throwing away your vote.

I understand that this statement comes across as very harsh but looking at the facts, it becomes clear how much of a waste your third party vote will be. Yesterday, The Washington Post released an article detailing how exactly third party votes will be processed in certain states. In every single state, Gary Johnson will be on the ballot, however, seeing that he is polling only six percent nationally, you can bet your vote won’t count for much. Jill Stein is only polling two percent, and is only on the ballot in 44 states. If she is written in, the vote will only count in three of those remaining six states. Neither Johnson nor Stein is in a position to actually win the election. All they will do is skew the results towards a potentially more negative candidate.

Maybe you are voting for a third party as a protest vote. Many people are disappointed by the choices that are available and would rather waste their vote than cast it for one of the two frontrunners. This protest is as bad and as wasteful as purposefully putting all of your support behind a third party candidate.

Not everyone has the ability to vote. Many states have put huge, expensive requirements on what is exactly needed to vote. All of us have a civic duty to cast our vote for those who cannot. Now is not the time for a protest vote, there is way too much on the line. The future of America and how we will deal with the rest of the world will be heavily affected by who the country votes into the White House. We are currently facing potential war in the Middle East, new trade deals with China, Europe and England and many domestic problems including a rising national debt. Understand that if you cast a protest vote in this election, then you are protesting the future of this country.

I wish that we didn’t have to choose between only two candidates. The two-party system is archaic and does not represent everyone in America. But deciding that you’re going to protest the national election is not going to change anything, it’s only going to be a drop in the bucket. If you want to make an impact with a third party then do at the local level. Your one vote means a lot more at the local level than it does at the national level. Look at 2014 when Mae Flexer won for the state senate seat in Mansfield. She won by 520 votes. One vote in 520 carries a lot more weight than you think.

You have a voice and a civic duty in this election. Don’t waste it by wasting your vote.  


Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and opinion’s staff columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at @amar_batra19.