Can You Vote Without Voting For Hillary Clinton Or Donald Trump? Absolutely, And Here Are 5 Ways To Do It
After months of primaries, caucuses, debates, stump speeches, rallies, and tweets, America finally has some answers. This fall, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton will go head-to-head for the White House. Given that these are some of the most polarizing candidates in recent memory, the general election's matchup might not be what you wanted after the long and dramatic primary season, but there are still other ways to vote in November beyond Trump and Clinton.
Despite beginning a symbolic pivot toward the mainstream GOP platform on Tuesday, Trump has made a fair share of enemies throughout the primary season. He has attacked women, minorities, the media, and his fellow politicians viciously, and he doesn't seem too keen on apologizing. For her part, Clinton has been rocked by her notorious email scandal, which has raised some concerns about her ability to be transparent in office.
The intense, competitive nature of presidential campaigns often leaves voters feeling disillusioned, as if they have to choose the candidate who irks them less. Although somewhat typical, that disillusionment becomes problematic when voters feel like staying home from the polls. Ignoring election day is a slippery slope, and it's a waste of a hard-fought right that remains coveted by much of the world. If you're headed to the couch rather than the polls this November, I'd implore you to consider some of these other options.
1. Vote Libertarian
If you fall somewhere in between Trump and Clinton on the spectrum, then perhaps it's time to consider Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. Johnson is the former Republican governor of New Mexico. He's fiscally conservative, reminding voters of that time he balanced New Mexico's budget, yet he's open to more liberal things, like the decriminalization of marijuana.
2. Support Another Third Party
Even if Johnson isn't your candidate, don't rule out third parties altogether. There's also Jill Stein of the Green Party, independent Souraya Faas, and several other potential candidates. They might not have the name recognition of Clinton or Trump, but voting for a third-party candidate who represents your goals for the country is much more admirable than sitting at home on the couch away from the polls.
3. Write In Your Choice
In most states, you have the option to pick a candidate who doesn't even appear on the ballot you're given. Simply write in the name of your choice. The write-in candidate may have to register in order to be officially considered, so pay attention to which individuals are registered in your state if you'd like to go this route.
4. Look Local
Chances are you'll have more than one race to vote on come election day. While it's important to fill out your entire ballot — even if that means writing in an unlikely presidential choice — you can put more time and faith in the state and local elections that may be happening in your district. Your preferred candidate may not get the chance to change the country, but you could still be a part of change in your community.
5. Volunteer At The Polls
If you're truly neutral on election day, why not join the crowd who can't show favoritism whatsoever? Volunteer to help others vote by becoming a poll worker. The process for volunteering varies by state, but it's important work no matter whether your district usually turns red or blue. (For the record, you should still vote, especially if you're going to be at the polls for part of the day anyway.)
It's natural to feel frustrated by presidential politics. As much as voting is valued in this country, the presidential campaigns that need to appeal to voters can often feel more like thorns in their sides. But feeling frustrated about the two major candidates is not an excuse to sit the election out. Whatever you decide to do on the big day in November, please make it a point to stop by the polls.