Voting Fourth Party Part 2: A Solution for Ron Paul Supporters

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I recently
wrote an article titled Voting
Fourth Party
. In it I made a suggestion for people that were
not content to pick just any ole third-party candidate. I stated
that if they did not like any of the candidates or what they stood
for, they could instead write in the name of the person they DID
want to be President. (For many of us that would be Dr. Ron Paul.)
Alternatively, none of the above is also a good choice.

Sadly, in
many states, these write-in votes can not be counted for the candidate
of your choice unless that person registers in advance as a write-in
candidate. Alternatively, in some states you cannot write in anyone,
others prevent you from writing in a candidate who lost in a primary
even if they did register, and in a few lucky places all write-ins
are counted. Here
is a link
that will tell you how your state does it. Please
verify with your Secretary of State as the information may have
changed.

I received
a ton of mail on the topic (thank you to all that wrote to me, I
learned something from each and every one of you). I am writing
this follow-up because I would like to explain my position more
fully based on some of the comments I received.

Many people
wrote in to say that because their state will not count write-in
votes at all, my position was foolish. I will address that concern.

I am suggesting
voting as a write-in PRECISELY because it will not be counted. This
holds true especially in the states that throw those votes in the
trash. By taking this action, we expose the sham that is a supposedly
democratic society. We force the state to take a notably undemocratic
action: throwing a vote in the trash.

The other alternative
is to vote for any third-party candidate willy-nilly. I will not
vote for someone I dislike because then all I am doing is sending
the message that I approve of that person and their politics. By
voting third party, I am not sending the message that I disliked
the other candidates. Choosing a third-party candidate is a wise
course of action if you do like that person, but if you do not,
you will only get more of the above. After all, you voiced your
approval.

Another course
of action suggested was to not vote at all because to do so is to
participate in an illegitimate system. I am not unsympathetic to
that argument. However, instead of not voting I choose instead to
make a statement — I voted but the State actually stole my vote
and threw it in the garbage. Rightly or wrongly, a non-vote is usually
seen as apathy and that is not the message I want to send. I do
not disagree with that approach, but I am more of an activist. I
want to force the state to take an action against me. I want them
to show their hand.

Rather than
staying home, by voting as a write-in I am saying, I did not like
any of your candidates. Imagine if we all did it? Then where would
they be? How would they legitimize the theft? How would they claim
that the people had a choice?

Imagine if
the 49% or more who do not vote all instead wrote in a name. Imagine
seeing that McCain got 25% of the vote, Obama received 25% and 49%
voted for "other." Wouldn't that be a stronger message?

The government
grabs our children as early as possible and teaches them their version
of history; they teach them their version of democracy. They pretend
you have a choice so that you will not complain. After all, you
voted for a candidate, right? You had your democratic moment. Well,
I do not recognize "your money or your life" as a choice.
I choose instead to vote the way I want and to make the state take
the action of tearing up my vote. Then I can proudly say, I did
vote, but the state stopped me because it was too frightened of
my ability to choose, so this mess is your fault.

If you agree
to play in a rigged game, how can you complain when you are swindled?
You chose to participate. Well, this game is as rigged as it gets.
I will not play. However, rather than staying home, I choose to
make the state show one of its cards. Again, imagine if we all did
it? The game would collapse. It needs willing participants to give
it the air of legitimacy it needs. Without that, well, the people
might see that they really do not have any choice in this supposedly
representative Republic and the most basic right, the right to vote,
is finally seen as an illusion.

Many states
such as Texas, where your write-in vote will be "ignored,"
(as told to me by the Secretary of State's office) are really saying:
You do not have a choice here; dissenters are unwelcome. We refuse
to recognize that anyone is unhappy. This is akin to the way those
that march against Bush's policies are shuffled into a "free
speech zone" blocks away so the President never has to see
that anyone is unhappy with his policies. We must fight these assaults
on our freedom of expression.

Someone has
to start saying the Emperor has no clothes. Insanity is repeating
the same mistakes expecting different results.

I will end
with an email sent to the Secretary of State's office in Texas.
Feel free to copy it if your state also ignores all write-ins unless
the person has registered. First, email to make sure you understand
their position. If they clarify that the write-in votes will not
be counted, will be ignored, or otherwise thrown in the trash unless
that person has properly registered, then send them this and cc
a bunch of newspaper reporters in your state:

To whom it
may concern:

Just so I
have this clear. If a person chooses to write in a candidate that
did not declare, or register, those votes will be ignored, and
that person’s right to make any statement in this Presidential
election will be taken away from them? Even people who vote for
Mickey Mouse are making a statement. But you are going to silence
all of those voices? Have I got it correct?

Only those
that recognize the fallacy of the “choices” presented to us will
be allowed to vote? The rest of us, who are not happy with our
choices are better off staying at home? Is that really what you
are telling me? You are removing the right to vote for “other”?

While, it
is clear that the Bush Administration has removed many of our
Constitutional rights, I did not know the right to vote was among
them.

This makes
me very sad. What happened to America? Where did it go?

Please tell
me — for a person who abhors the choices presented to her — how
I am supposed to say so? If I must pick a person on the ballot
then any vote I make will only be counted as an affirmative vote
for the "lesser of several evils" choice I make. That
means I still have to vote for evil. I do not want to vote for
evil.

Under this
system, you are telling the disgruntled to go away. Please hide
in the closet. We will only recognize the people who are happy
with the process. Any dissent must be silenced. Either you will
like the choices given to you or you will remain quiet. We cannot
hear from anyone who is not content. Would you call that the American
way of doing things?

I beg you
to reconsider ignoring these votes completely. These people have
something to say. They are saying — we are unhappy. Please hear
us. Those who are registered in a party can say "I don’t
like the person the party picked" and the party can hear
them: But not if their vote is ignored.

What good
is free speech if we are only allowed to say what we want in our
own closet? These “other” votes are a statement. Please don’t
silence democracy.

Please report
these votes in total. Let the people hear how many are unhappy.
Let the parties hear how many they have failed to reach. Let their
voices be heard. Or are you telling them all to stay home? Do
you really want to make apathy the intelligent choice? Right now
it is pretty stupid to go to the polls if you do not like the
choices: So much for getting out the vote. I guess only "certain"
people are allowed to speak.

Perhaps if
the American public really understood how fixed the game is, they
might start to complain. A girl can dream can't she?

Peace.

September
17, 2008

Sandra
Hamilton [send her mail]
is a retired attorney.

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