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Voting Fourth Party

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Most of the people that I know are not happy with the political choices they have for President this year. I hear lots of talk about voting against one guy or the other, but not so much talk about voting FOR anyone. There is one man, however, that a great many people wish they could vote for and that is Ron Paul. His supporters have their news page set to pick up all stories about him, they go to rallies thousands of miles away to support a man who is not even in the running anymore, and his support is not waning, in fact, it is growing.

Recently, Ron Paul held a news conference and suggested that people vote for a third-party candidate. Notably absent from his side, was the third-party candidate Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate. Despite the snub, Ron Paul still stood up for Barr and others in an effort to stop the insanity. If you want change, then you have to change the way you vote. Repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

I spent the day reading articles about Ron Paul's historic speech. I found it strange that the pundits, who once ignored Ron Paul completely, suddenly were terribly interested in his opinions. It seems that as soon as Ron Paul says something that might affect the anointed ones, they must report. Would Ron Paul's words make his supporters more or less likely to vote for McCain? Obama? Who will this affect more?

Meanwhile, the comments from Ron Paul supporters were all about which third-party member to vote for, who should they support now? Reading between the lines it appears that his supporters are still loyal, only now they are not sure how to remain loyal.

If we are to accept that voting for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil (and I do accept that premise), then why throw your vote around willy-nilly? Voting for a third-party candidate simply because they are a third-party candidate makes no sense. You still have to use your mind in this election. You still have to choose a candidate to vote FOR.

At this point in this article I had intended to tell people that wish to vote for Ron Paul to do so by writing his name in on the ballot. I have bad news. Research revealed that in most states, a candidate must jump through a bunch of legal hoops to have their names counted as a write-in. The supposed argument is that you are never actually voting for a candidate, just a slate of electors who will go to the Electoral College to vote for your candidate and if those electors are not registered ahead of time, then in fact, you are not voting for anyone.

However, some states have managed to do away with all that nonsense. This is a nice page that breaks down the rules state by state, but as rules are constantly changing, I ask that you please check the rules for your state and not rely on the information in that link. My question is, if some states can allow you to vote for whomever you wish why can't they all? What is so difficult about allowing the American people to pick the person they want to be President? Why is this so dangerous?

Every year we get these huge get-out-the-vote drives that are designed to legitimize a system and to make you think you have a choice. If you knew you did not have a choice you might balk a little. So they pretend to give you a choice between a statist and another statist and do everything in their power to prevent you from hearing the non-statist point of view and if you dare to learn of it on your own, they will stop you from being able to vote for your particular candidate. They are good at it.

This year I find myself with a huge dilemma. I typically vote Libertarian, but this year I cannot. I do not like the candidate. I choose not to support that candidate. I also do not like the other third-party candidates. If I vote against a guy, then I am telling the guy I voted for that I like him. That would be false and I do not want to send that message. If I similarly vote Libertarian no matter who the candidate is, then I am telling the Libertarian Party that I do not care who they choose, but I do care. I do not want this year's candidate to be President. I initially thought I would just write-in Ron Paul and feel good about myself. It turns out, much to my chagrin, that my state has one of those laws that will not count write in candidates unless the candidate filed certain papers and has not already lost a primary. (They call it the sore loser law. But if the people later discover they like the loser better than the winner, where is the harm in letting them choose?) So if I vote for Ron Paul, it will be counted as a "write-in" but not as a vote for Paul.

I have gone over this multiple times. Do I support the Libertarian Party even though I do not support the candidate? That goes against my principles. Do I choose any other third party to send a message? Again, that goes against my principles. I choose not to vote against people but to vote for them. Therefore, I am left with the decision to write in the name Ron Paul. I think he would make a great President. I know my vote will not count as a vote for Dr. Paul, but it will be counted in the generic category of "write-ins." When they show the total of people in my state who do not like the choices they were given I will be among them. And that is the message I truly want to send with my vote. I do not accept your chosen few. I am an American and as so I believe I have the right to vote for whom I choose.

Perhaps if enough people also wrote-in their vote, these draconian write-in laws will be removed. In Delaware, for example, (correct me if I am wrong) if you write in a candidate, that vote will count, period. I think we all have that right.

I thought about not voting at all because I do not want to legitimize the system, but those non-votes are simply seen as apathy. I am not apathetic. I am passionate: Extremely passionate for liberty.

So this election, I will be making a statement. I will vote for the man I believe to be the best candidate, I will do my best to expose a corrupt system that prevents most of us from making a real choice, and I will sleep well. If you feel the same way, I ask you to join me. Even writing in "none of the above" sends a message. I ask you to think about the message you wish to send with your vote. If you want change then change.

Peace.

September 13, 2008

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