There’s just one week left until Election Day and with all the acrimony in the presidential race, we’ve heard from a lot of Countable users who are wondering about voting third party or not voting at all. Will voting third party or skipping it altogether hand the race to a major-party candidate you disagree with? Is a third party vote a wasted vote? Let’s break it down.
First, it really depends on how you think of your vote: Do you view it as solely a personal expression and action or is it more about results?
Ok, so you’re frustrated, we get that. There are a lot of reasons to want to make your voice heard and silence can be a valid option as well. If you don’t want to vote because you think it’d be morally compromising, that’s one thing. If you see not voting as a protest, that’s quite another.
Consider this: A lot of Americans don’t vote. In the last presidential election, just 62 percent of American citizens over 18 years of age voted and 71 percent were registered to vote, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In non-presidential election years, the numbers are much worse. According to the Pew Research Center, those stats have remained relatively stable for the last few decades and they’re pretty embarrassing when compared to voting data in other developed nations.
And yet, when Americans don’t vote, the response is rarely, "We should have had better candidates or a better system because so many Americans can’t bring themselves to vote." It’s typically much more like this:
As writer Clay Shirky wrote on Medium earlier this year: "In Presidential elections, non-voters always outnumber voters who choose the winning candidate." And yet, the desires of the non-voters and their reasons for not voting are almost never taken into consideration by the new president, controlling party of Congress, school board member, student body president, etc."