STRAIGHT  OUTTA  OPTIONS

With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump gearing up to be two of the most hated general election candidates in history, some voters may be seeking a third option, looking to third parties to cast their votes.

 

“The two political parties are completely disintegrating right now,” said Green Party organizer Michael Wang. He speculated that “This year there is going to be an unprecedented number of people voting for 3rd parties supporting third parties not aligning with the two major parties.”

 

In 2014, Gallup Polls found that nearly 60 percent of Americans believe a third political party is needed because the existing mainstream parties do a poor job of representing the American people and more Americans identify as Independent than as either Republican or Democrat.

 

For voters looking for an alternative, there are 28 distinct ballot-qualified political parties to choose from, all which hold conventions and run political candidates like the two mainstream parties. However, although Americans might be ready to support a third party, they will likely have a hard time actually voting —most of these parties only appear on on the ballot in one or two states.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

States regulate ballots using ballot access laws that require non-major parties to collect anywhere from 275 to 178,039 signatures in order to appear on the ballot. Additionally many states require parties to receive a certain percentage of the vote an election in order to remain on the ballot for the following cycle. If the party does not reach this requirement, it must collect the signatures all over again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organizers like Wang are working throughout the country to collect signatures and get the word out about their minor parties.

 

“You can lose ballot access pretty easily in most states,” Wang said.

 

In November, the Green Party will appear on the ballot in 20 states in addition to Washington D.C., reaching a little over half of the electorate. Still, the biggest challenge to attracting new voters to third parties is viability, Wang said.

 

“People generally believe in third party candidates than they believe in mainstream candidates it just comes down to whoever they think is more likely to be elected,” he said.

 

Third parties from both ends of the political spectrum use similar rhetoric to argue against the two party system. Libertarians and Socialists alike liken the choice between Republican and Democrat to choosing between two evils.

 

“There is a lot of commonality among the different third parties so many people just have been pushed out by the political process and the political agenda is so narrow,” Wang said.

 

The victories of establishment outsiders like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump may be signs that the American people are taking a stand against the political system.

 

“That explains a big part of the why the political system is coming apart right now,” he said.  “People are looking at the political process, they are looking at the two major parties and their saying that as a society ‘We are not OK with this.’”

Number of Ballot Qualified Parties Per State

The Party for Socialism and Liberation’s newspaper says that the current political system is rigged.  Photo courtesy of Judy Holtz

With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump gearing up to be two of the most hated general election candidates in history, some voters may be seeking a third option, looking to third parties to cast their votes.

 

“The two political parties are completely disintegrating right now,” said Green Party organizer Michael Wang. He speculated that “This year there is going to be an unprecedented number of people voting for 3rd parties supporting third parties not aligning with the two major parties.”

 

In 2014, Gallup Polls found that nearly 60 percent of Americans believe a third political party is needed because the existing mainstream parties do a poor job of representing the American people and more Americans identify as Independent than as either Republican or Democrat.

 

For voters looking for an alternative, there are 28 distinct ballot-qualified political parties to choose from, all which hold conventions and run political candidates like the two mainstream parties. However, although Americans might be ready to support a third party, they will likely have a hard time actually voting —most of these parties only appear on on the ballot in one or two states.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

States regulate ballots using ballot access laws that require non-major parties to collect anywhere from 275 to 178,039 signatures in order to appear on the ballot. Additionally many states require parties to receive a certain percentage of the vote an election in order to remain on the ballot for the following cycle. If the party does not reach this requirement, it must collect the signatures all over again.

 

Organizers like Wang are working throughout the country to collect signatures and get the word out about their minor parties.

 

“You can lose ballot access pretty easily in most states,” Wang said.

 

In November, the Green Party will appear on the ballot in 20 states in addition to Washington D.C., reaching a little over half of the electorate. Still, the biggest challenge to attracting new voters to third parties is viability, Wang said.

 

“People generally believe in third party candidates than they believe in mainstream candidates it just comes down to whoever they think is more likely to be elected,” he said.

 

Third parties from both ends of the political spectrum use similar rhetoric to argue against the two party system. Libertarians and Socialists alike liken the choice between Republican and Democrat to choosing between two evils.

 

“There is a lot of commonality among the different third parties so many people just have been pushed out by the political process and the political agenda is so narrow,” Wang said.

 

The victories of establishment outsiders like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump may be signs that the American people are taking a stand against the political system.

 

“That explains a big part of the why the political system is coming apart right now,” he said.  “People are looking at the political process, they are looking at the two major parties and their saying that as a society ‘We are not OK with this.’”