In this election cycle, many voters, especially first time voters like college students, are having a tough time deciding who to vote for.
Some don’t like Donald Trump, but they also can’t stand Hillary Clinton. I’m one of those people who is seriously considering voting for a third party candidate — and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
There are more than two candidates in the race, such as Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party Nominee Jill Stein.
Some say a vote for Johnson is a vote for Clinton or a vote for Stein is a vote for Trump, but in reality it’s not. A vote for Johnson is a vote for Johnson and a vote for Stein is a vote for Stein.
"Democracy works best when people vote for someone rather than against someone," Youth for Johnson/Weld at ASU Chapter President David Howman said. "Many people say they're voting for Trump to avoid Clinton or vice versa, and I think voting for someone who represents the center is better serving democracy."
There’s no shame in voting for whom you believe has and will protect the same values you hold. That’s exactly what our civic duty to vote entails.
Even if those candidates don’t receive as much media coverage as the two major party candidates or don’t make the debate stage with them, it shouldn’t deter you from voting for them if you still support their ideals and platform.
If you vote for them and they still lose, then there’s nothing to say you wasted your vote. Your vote was cast and your voice was heard. That’s how democracy works. There’s always one winner and several losers.
You can’t be bullied around by those who pressure you into believing the two-party system is all that exists. That's exactly why Democrats and Republicans dominate government positions.
Independents like Bernie Sanders and Libertarians like Rand Paul have proven that third parties can win elections and influence government activities. Even Abraham Lincoln was a third party candidate, and he would go on to hold office.
Without those “outsiders,” per say, there wouldn’t be as much of a discussion or flow of ideas within the American political system.
For as young as we are, some of us are voting in our first election, and some feel we just need to follow the pack and pick the lesser of two evils.
Honestly, you're picking from the lesser of three, four or even five evils — there's never a perfect candidate.
You're never limited when it comes to your vote. You have several options when you enter the voting booth this November:
Republican Nominee Donald Trump, Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton, Libertarian Nominee Gary Johnson, Green Party Nominee Jill Stein, Independent Candidate Evan McMullin and there's always the write-in space!
So, do exactly what Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Texas Senator Ted Cruz said to do on Election Day and "Vote your conscience."
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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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