“We are here to offer more than two choices”

With Ohio being a battleground state, our votes are more important than ever. However, it can seem as if we only have two choices.

On the ballot for president in Ohio, a vote will see the Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the Republican nominee Donald Trump and then there are the other two names; Jo Jorgenson and Howie Hawkins. These two people represent two different parties, the Libertarians and the Green Party. Typically labeled as a third party choice and has low polling rates compared to the main two parties. However, with the 2020 election quickly approaching these candidates are there to offer more choices to the people.

“The Libertarian Party and in our movement, and frankly, in third parties, in general, has gone up exponentially,” Spike Cohen, vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party said. “Imagine being an American, watching that debate, and thinking those are your only two options. Imagine how horrified and hopeless Someone must feel when they are presented with those two options. And essentially told those are your only options. That’s all you can vote for. No wonder nearly half of eligible voters do not vote, because they look at that kind of nonsense and say, none of that’s for me.”

During this election, citizens can vote for the Libertarian Party in any state, while the Green Party is listed in Ohio but not all of the states. 

Winning is important, however, the percentage of votes is the next important item. If any of these parties receive 5% or more of the vote, they receive federal funding. 

Spike Cohen, is the VP nominee for the Libertarian Party, he is running with Jo Jorgenson.

Looking at Ohio, the Green Party had to petition after the 2018 election after their candidate for governor received 1.1% of the votes, not meeting the 3% needed in Ohio to be considered a party. 

The Libertarian Party had to petition after a judge ruled they did not get enough votes after their previous presidential nominee ran as an independent candidate, not a Libertarian.

Third Parties have received hate for supposedly stealing votes from the main parties, recently being the 2016 election. 

“The democrats are scapegoating us,’ Howie Hawkins, presidential nominee for the Green Party said. “We say they spoil the election. First of all, they let the republicans get away with massive suppression of likely Democratic voters, particularly black voters but also Latino voters and voters from Indian immigrant communities.”

Along with stealing votes, it is supposedly a waste to vote for them.

“It’s not a vote for Trump, is a vote against Trump. It [the vote] is in the green column it is not in the republican column. We’re a second front against Trump,” Hawkins said.

However, a vote is someone voice and opinion for how they want to country to be run. 

“Throwing away your vote is voting for the people who put us in the mess we’re in,” Spike said. 

Hawkins argues for the removal of the electoral college and replacing it with rank choice voting, 

This is the 2016 election results for Ohio. The Green Party received only .8% of the vote barely making the chart. Information from the New York Times.

“Using rank choice voting, the national popular vote gets rid of the electoral college problem,” Hawkins said. “Rank choice voting, where you vote, you know your order preference 123. That way you can rank your favorite candidate. Without, helping the candidate you fear the most. So the way it works is if nobody gets a majority in the first round, the last place candidate is eliminated and their balance transfers to their second.”

Rank voting is being used by Maine for the first time this year during the presidential election. Along with Maine, 18 cities also use rank voting according to the National Conference of State Legislature.

Some may ask “how do they keep up motivation nationally?” 

“We know that every single election cycle we do that much better than we did the one before it precisely because the American people are increasingly waking up to the reality of the situation that they are facing,” Spike said. ”They’re never going to get solutions from the very people who created the problems that we’re facing. So that is where we get the momentum,” 

While the Libertain Party is on every ballot, the Green party has to rely on write in ballots along with not even being considered a party in a few states. 

“I’ve been in a lot of movements where we were a vilified minority. And over time, we won people over the anti Vietnam War movement anti nuclear power movement. The movement to ban fracking here in New York,” Hawkins said. “And I just have faith that you know we’re offering programs like the green new deal on Medicare for All. So at some point, we’re going to breakthrough. And, you know, I’m hoping that I have faith in that. And, you know that’s what always keeps me going.” 

Third parties are not here to steal votes or to throw away an election. They are here to give voice to those who do not believe or follow the main two parties. They are here to fight for those who believe in their platforms and what changes for the country.