MonteLDS wrote:as for people who want neither, just withhold your vote, that seems to be just the same as throwing it away
Sigh. With all the work people are putting in to getting people out there to vote, regardless of who you vote fo, just vote, you are telling people to only vote for the two "viable" options. Withholding your vote isn't democracy. Why should
we have to settle on who our President is? Settling isn't democracy, it's having choices already made for you and picking the lesser of two evils. I believe it was Cobb, in the recent Slashdot interview who said, "If you keep voting between the lesser of two evils, what do you expect to get except evil?". I'm not saying any of the independents are any better, or less evil, or more good than Kerry or Bush. But I do think our two party system can stifle change. How do those third party candidates get better chances in the election? It's not just by having a better platform. It's by having enough votes in the previous election to be allowed to play on an even field in the current one. If those third party candidates never received votes, they wouldn't even have a chance to participate in the Presidential debates, an event, sadly that most people use to determine who they are voting for. Sure, we may read up on candidates, their platforms, and do research into their credibility and experience, watch the news, etc, but a lot of people don't. So, we are currently stuck with 2, at most 3, options. In something so important, should we be limited our options? Now, granted, there shouldn't be 100 candidates to choose from, and I don't know what the criteria should be to allow a candidate, but as I see it, voting for 3rd party is not a wasted vote.
What do you get from not voting? Nothing. At least by voting, you've at the very least made a personal statement. If you're going to make an argument about splitting the vote, I'd argue there's no such thing. To split the vote, you're assuming that everyone WILL vote for someone, and by having more candidates to choose from the vote WILL get split. But what about the people who are only voting because a 3rd party candidate is running, and wouldn't vote otherwise? If Nader or Cobb wasn't an option, they wouldn't vote, and Bush and Kerry's numbers would remain the same. No vote splitting there. And for those that would vote anyway, regardless of if 3rd party candidates were running, they would most likely vote for Kerry or Bush anyway because they wouldn't want to "waste" their vote. So, still no vote lost. The only lost votes would occur if someone who was uneducated/undecided about the candidates arrived at the polls and said "I don't know who I want to vote for, and I'll choose at random" and they end up picking not Bush and not Kerry. I find that highly unlikely. Because even if they said "I don't know who I want to vote for, but I know I don't like Bush and Kerry" that means they probably wouldn't have voted for either of those two in the first place. They are voting who they like more, or at least voting against who they don't like, and that's still a choice, that's still a right that they have. And as this election has shown, it's less about choosing who you like, and more about choosing who you don't like, which is very unfortunate.
Also, as South Park has shown, it's always between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich. And 3rd party candidates are likely to be as equally ridiculous, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't vote. What's the difference between voting "Not Bush" and voting "Not Bush or Kerry"? Nothing, and it's perfectly acceptable as long as you vote. Not voting is not democracy. The democratic process works as long as we exercise it.
By the way, I voted Kerry in this poll and in about 30 minutes at my polling location.