Early voting for the general election of November 2016 has begun.
Dear readers, especially Ohio registered voters, it is time to vote for President and Vice President of the United States, as we do every four years. The early voting period has begun. There is no reason to push voting off until the last minute, if you’ve done your homework and investigated the candidates and issues appearing on the ballots.
There are more than two political parties.
Oh, maybe you’re holding off on voting until all the “October surprises” have been revealed. If you are, then you are probably still entertaining thoughts about voting for the Trump/Pence Republican ticket or the Clinton/Kaine Democrat ticket. I’m not. I’m so done with both of them. To be fair, I do think that Trump is wholly justified in remaining at the top of the Republican ticket. He won the party nomination fair and square. Fortunately, in our nation, we don’t have to vote for a party slate. We can vote for individual candidates on an a la carte basis. Our voting system is so much better than the parliamentary elections held in so many other parts of the world. Also, the media tries to rigidly uphold the two-party system (Democrat and Republican) in the United States; but the truth is, there are more candidates to choose from than just Trump or Clinton. I’m glad of that. If I could only vote between the two of them, I would pull the lever for Trump, but I’m so happy that I don’t have to (and I won’t).
Your ballot will list more candidates for president than just Trump and Clinton.
Ohio’s ballot also lists Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka as Green Party POTUS and VPOTUS candidates, Richard Duncan and Ricky Johnson as independent POTUS and VPOTUS candidates, and Gary Johnson and William Weld as Libertarian POTUS and VPOTUS candidates. Maybe you’re thinking, “those other candidates are nobodies who couldn’t possibly be experienced/skillful/prepared/savvy/qualified enough to be President,” but, if so, you may be mistaken. For example, the Libertarian ticket–Johnson and Weld–features POTUS and VPOTUS candidates who have both been state governors. So I would urge voters to take more than a cursory glance at independent and minor party candidates this election cycle. You may find candidates among them that are superior to the ones that the two major parties have nominated.
Also, there are POTUS and VPOTUS candidates that you are able to vote for who are not listed on the ballot.
I’m talking about write-in candidates. You can only vote for one pair of POTUS/VPOTUS candidates, so if you intend to vote for a write in, you have to make sure you didn’t inadvertently cast votes for one of the pairs already listed on the ballot. A word of advice: Don’t just write “none of the above” as a protest write-in vote. It won’t get counted. In order for a write-in vote to be counted, you must write in the name of a candidate who actually met the qualifications to be a write-in candidate as determined by the office of the Ohio Secretary of State. Please be aware that the workers at the polls are partisan (equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans at each voting location, ideally), so they have no interest in volunteering information about write-in candidates. If you directly ask them for a list of the names of qualified write-in candidates, then I think they would be obliged to respond, but you would be better off if you did this homework in advance and examined the write-in candidate list ahead of your visit to your polling place. This year, the POTUS and VPOTUS ticket I am voting for is among the qualified write-ins. Here is Ohio’s list of qualified POTUS/VPOTUS write-in candidates for the November 2016 general election (POTUS candidate’s name of each write-in ticket appears to the left of each “/” with VPOTUS candidate’s name of each ticket appears after each “/”):
James Jerome Bell/Scheem Milton Hempstead
Michael Bickelmeyer/Robert Young
Darrell L. Castle/Scott N. Bradley
Cherunda Fox/Roger Kushner
Ben Hartnell/Dave Marshall
Tom Hoefling/Steve Schulin
Bruce E. Jaynes/Roger W. Stewart
Chris Keniston/Deacon Taylor
Barry Kirschner/Rick Menefield
Laurence Kotlikoff/Edward Leamer
Joseph Maldonado/Douglas Terranova
Michael Andrew Maturen/Juan Antonio Munoz
Evan McMullin/Nathan Johnson
Monica Moorehead/Lamont Lilly
Joe Schriner/Joe Moreaux
Mike Smith/Daniel White
Josiah R. Stroh/Paul Callahan
Douglas W. Thomson/Thomas A. Ducro, Jr.
Notice that the list of write-in candidates does not include any mention of party affiliations. This does not mean that all of these tickets have no affiliations to political parties. The Darrell L. Castle/Scott N. Bradley ticket, for example, is actually affiliated with the Constitution Party . . . a political party that some Tea Party voters might take an interest in due to shared notions of limited government and close adherence to the U.S. Constitution, yet more tolerant of the rule of law than, say, a number of Libertarians that might feel a little too restricted by laws in general. On the other hand, the Evan McMullin/Nathan Johnson ticket is an independent ticket, for McMullin has cast aside his former affiliation with the Republicans from the time he served as a Congressional aide. As far as McMullin, a former CIA operative, is concerned, if Trump personifies what the Republican Party currently stands for, then McMullin wants to make a clean break with that. So feel free to google and research the candidates listed here. If you find your favorite POTUS/VPOTUS ticket among the qualified write-ins, then I recommend you jot down your selection in a little note to yourself to take with you to your polling location to make it easier to cast your write-in vote.
No, you’re not throwing your vote away if you vote for a ticket other than a major party ticket.
As long as you are casting your vote for an eligible candidate of your liking, your vote will be counted and it will have an impact. How large of an impact? I don’t know. We’ll have to see how the future unfolds. In my opinion, in this election year, we may begin to see some movement to break the stranglehold that the two major political parties have on our government, since the Dem and Rep nominees for prez this time around are not so popular. Or, perhaps the Republicans and Democrats may remain dominant, but undertake reforms if they perceive that they are each becoming too unpalatable to the U.S. electorate. If they reform, or if there is any other shake-up on the horizon, votes for candidates from outside the two major parties may very well influence those political shifts. Especially if you are unhappy with the direction that the nation is headed in, don’t stay home. Vote.