Can I Write In Jill Stein For President? The Election Isn't Just Between Two Candidates

To say the 2016 election has left voters disappointed would be putting it kindly. In a recent poll, majorities described themselves as "frustrated" and "disgusted" with the presidential campaign. So for the "frustrated" and "disgusted" voters, a third party – like, say Jill Stein of the Green Party — probably looks pretty appealing. Because the race has been largely between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, you might be wondering: Can I write in Stein for president?

According to the Green Party's website, Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, are on the ballot in 45 states, which means there's no write-in necessary in the majority of states. For those living in Georgia, North Carolina, and Indiana, Stein has been granted write-in access. So if you're a Hoosier who wants to go Green, get that pencil sharpened and ready. Unfortunately for Greens in Nevada, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, there is simply no way to vote for Stein in those states.

The ability to write in a candidate varies from state to state. As indicated above, some states — like Nevada — allow no write-ins at all. Ballotpedia put together a sample ballot of what Nevadans can expect on Nov. 8.

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Voting for a third party is often viewed as a "protest vote," a way to send the message that neither major party candidate is acceptable. Many have argued that a vote for Jill Stein — or any of the candidates besides Clinton or Trump — is a "wasted" vote. If your candidate can't win, what's the point? Well, here is a pretty solid point from the Green Party's official website:

Maine Green Independent Party (MGIP) leaders are urging their fellow citizens to realize that a vote for presidential Green Party candidate Jill Stein in November has powerful implications for the 2020 election. Stein's poll numbers are rising, and if she wins at least 5 percent of the popular vote, the Federal Election Commission must classify the Green Party as an official "minor party." This designation will result in approximately $10 million in federal funding.

So while Jill Stein may not win any states this round, a vote for her is not "wasted." For those who want to see the Green Party gain national prominence, it makes sense to send that message through your Nov. 8 ballot.

And don't be surprised if third parties make a bigger noise than anticipated on Election Night. Over in Utah, Evan McMullin looks poised to do something no other 2016 third-party candidate is likely to achieve — actually win a state. Recent polls show him in what is essentially a three-way tie with Clinton and Trump. Should McMullin win, he'll be the first third party nominee to score electoral votes since 1968.

That's definitely one way to send Washington the message that the two-party system didn't work out so well this year.