There are more than just two parties in the 2008 U.S. presidential elections

Secrecy Envelope

One of the things that blindsided me when I was able to vote for the first time in the 1996 U.S. presidential elections[wiki] was that there were more people running for president than I was aware of. The fact of the matter was that I was a very young voter who was a few months into my senior year of high school, and it was important to me to vote. Still, I was astounded that I had never heard of any of these other people, parties, or what it was that they stood for.

It’s true that Ross Perot[wiki] had his run with the Reform Party, and the Green Party always seems to be popping up here and there. The thing is that the U.S. election system is not a strict, one or the other choice. There can be, and there are, more parties to choose from other than just Democrat or Republican. Yes, in America, there is an unspoken, multi-party system, and if wasn’t for the massive amount of personal wealth that Perot used for his own campaign in 1996, his third party probably wouldn’t have ended up as front and center on Saturday Night Live skits, yet alone in the debates. It was also great entertainment, not to mention a boost to ratings.

More than two parties to vote for

In the district in which I am able to vote via absentee, I have nine, total options to choose from. It’s true that there is a write-in, and that is an amazing option that we have in the U.S. system. I once had a good friend write in Trent Reznor for president and Henry Rollins as V.P. You can call that a waste of a vote, but it’s still an exercise of your right to let the government know how you feel.

Outside of the two main parties and the write-in, my ballot has seven other parties to choose from. Hardly any of them are covered by the mainstream media outlets, and not one of them were involved in public debates with the other big two parties, yet alone chased around the country with TV cameras, dissecting every move they made.

Straight ticket voting It makes me go back to that day when I was able to vote for the first time. Who were those people? What did they stand for? You mean there is an option other than these other two guys I’ve been essentially forced to choose between?

Folks will tell you that is just the way things are and the two party system is how the world works, and it makes sense to me why there are people across many generations who are disillusioned with a system where you have to choose between two entities that they would rather not vote at all. It’s personally hard for me to comprehend that apathy, especially when that write-in exists, no matter who it is that you want to write in.

At the same time, you have other options. Look into the other parties who are running under the mainstream radar. Some of them might seem completely crazy, but if you are one deciding not to choose “between the lesser of two evils” by not voting at all, give it some thought, register to vote, and cast your ballot for who you want to represent you.

I’m a blogger in Canada who can vote in the U.S. elections

It is curious, isn’t it?

With that dig on bloggers, I thought that I would point out something that struck me funny about McCain, being the hockey fan that I am.

If the need arises and the range is close, Mark Salter will edit John McCain in midsentence. After 19 years at each other’s side, neither man gives it a second thought. When a writer for The New Yorker was interviewing them last year about their latest best-selling book, the talk turned to hockey and the Arizona senator’s admiration for Wayne Gretzky[wiki], who coaches the Phoenix Coyotes. “Wayne Gretzky is one of the all-time best American athletes!” McCain proclaimed. But even before his boss finished speaking, Salter had spotted a slip-up: the hockey legend is from Ontario. “Yes,” Salter interjected, “Gretzky is one of the best American athletes … from Canada!” [newsweek]

We’re in the home stretch for the 2008 U.S. presidential elections, and this will be my first time to vote in a federal election as a U.S. citizen and a permanent resident of Canada.

I’m trying to get everything in order to get my voting out of the country lined up so I don’t miss the boat. If you are one of these such people, be sure to check out the Federal Voting Assistance Program. The site is dedicated to folks like myself to get information about how to get your absentee ballet by the time the elections hit in November.

With Obama choosing Biden as his running mate, the end is in sight for this battle. And as a blogger, I hope I can put out the message to those U.S. citizens around the world to pickup on your opportunity to help shape the future of the world, no matter who it is that you would rather see win.

This would include third, fourth, or fifth parties. In fact, if you have someone you’d rather write in, I say go for it. I once had a buddy put down Trent Reznor[wiki] for president with Henry Rollins[wiki] as VP.

What a glorious world that would have been.

The point is that you have the right to vote. That power is your voice to say how you want things to be ran, and this applies to any country with some form of democracy. With the possibilities of a Canadian election on the horizon, this notion has greater baring than just my home country.

To go along with the spirit of the elections, CommonCraft produced another great video about the elections, putting the whole process into plain English of how the U.S. president gets elected.

Electing a US President in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

There you have it. Now get out there and rock the vote.