Guess what? You don’t have to vote for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. This piece of information may come as a surprise to some — there are 11 other candidates in Ohio, running for the nation’s highest office.
That’s good news for voters who want choice.
However, it comes with a caveat. None has a realistic chance of winning. Some don’t even appear on ballots in other states, which makes their campaigns a mathematical and logistical impossibility.
You know that and they know that. So what do they hope to accomplish?
It provides them an opportunity to call attention to specific issues, and in instances, to grouse about what they say is a failed two-party monopoly.
“The whole system has evolved … like it’s the Crips and the Bloods in a constant political battle,” said Mike Vargo, a history and government teacher at Centerburg (Ohio) High School and a write-in candidate.
Names of five candidates — besides Obama and Romney — appear on ballots for the Nov. 6 election. Voters also have the option of writing in the name of one of six others who filled out paperwork to become “official” write-in candidates. That means they’re the only ones whose write-in votes will be counted. Sorry Mickey Mouse, Abraham Lincoln and Jesus; you’ll probably get votes, but they won’t count.
Although votes for so-called minor candidates can affect the outcome in a close two-party race, many voters don’t want to waste a ballot on a candidate who has no chance of winning, said Paul Beck, a political science professor at The Ohio State University.
So, the voter settles for either the Democrat or Republican.
“They end up voting strategically,” Beck explained.
ON THE BALLOT
Four candidates were nominated by minor political parties:
• Socialist, Stewart Alexander, of Los Angeles, is a 61-year-old father of four. He previously lost bids for mayor and lieutenant governor. He has touted socialism as the answer for America’s working class.
• Constitution, Virgil Goode, 65, is a former GOP congressman from Virginia and a hard-liner on immigration issues. The party’s principles include stronger state’s rights and American sovereignty.
• Libertarian, Gary Johnson, 59, is a former governor of New Mexico. A fiscal conservative, he vetoed more than 750 pieces of legislation in his two terms, during which he has said he cut taxes 14 times.
• Green, Jill Stein, of Massachusetts, is a 62-year-old physician. An environmental and human health activist, she has appeared on network TV shows as an expert on CLICK HERE