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Freedom's Phoenix

The Wasted Vote Argument

September 30, 2008 - 12:00am
Nick Coons by Nick Coons


The most common argument I hear against voting for the Libertarian candidate or registering Libertarian is that people are afraid of wasting their vote. I've never really understood the logic behind the wasted vote argument, but it goes something like this: "Why should I vote for a Libertarian when they're not going to win anyway?"

This implies one of two things:

  1. We think that the Democrat or Republican is going to win simply because he received your one vote, or
  2. We feel a compelling need to be on the "winning" side.

I have trouble believing that it's the first one.  With candidates at the local level receiving thousands of votes, and candidates at the federal level receiving millions, certainly no one thinks that their single vote is going to sway the election.  A single vote is no more wasted on a Libertarian candidate who "can't win" than it is on a Democrat or Republican who will win whether you vote for him or not.

Aside from that, the "can't win" claim is not true.  Libertarians currently hold approximately 400 political offices throughout the country.  Simply put, the candidate with the most votes wins.  The problem is that most people don't want to be alone in their vote; they don't want to be the first one because it's scary.  This means that the rest of us who are not afraid to voice our opinions in opposition need to act first.  How can you do that best?

First, register Libertarian.  It takes five minutes at ServiceArizona.com and doesn't cost a thing.  By getting our registration numbers up, we make people take notice, and they see the Libertarian party as a viable alternative.  And you can still vote for whomever you want to in the general election.

Second, vote Libertarian.  As Libertarian candidates collect more votes, we'll be able to positively affect elections.  When people see Libertarian candidates as the electable candidates that they are, others will join in, and we'll see the effect snowball.

And finally, convince others to do the same.  With Congress' approval rating at an all-time-low of 9%, the idea of continuing to vote in Democrats and Republicans is ludicrous.  We need real change, and the not the kind that the same-old, same-old establishment politicians are spouting.

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