Independent party votes matter

I watched, rolling my eyes, as my mom put a sign that read “” in our yard in 2008. To me, it was ridiculous she felt the need to not only advertise this website, but to pay for the domain name to update it.

The website went into detail on various presidential nominees — though none of them were Republican or Democrat. She encouraged me to become familiar with each of the independent parties to know what they stood for so that when I eventually was able to vote, I would know if they stood for what I stood for.

Fast forward to 2012. I’m voting in my first election, and I’m excited about it. I have researched thoroughly, and I know exactly who I’m voting for and why. It should not be a surprise at this point to know I am voting independent.

I’m a freshman at UNA and eager to vote, so naturally I talk to my boyfriend at the time about the election.

“Why would you vote for a third party?” he asked. “That’s just throwing your vote away.”

I was confused. How could voting for someone be throwing my vote away?

This same boyfriend announced the possibility voting in general was useless because the election college would not reflect the voters’ actual ballots. He didn’t vote in the election that year.

The conversation I had with him impacted me, causing me to question everything I was raised to know. As I have continued my college career, I have found more of my peers agreeing with him — voting third party is a waste, and so is bipartisan voting.

I’m here to tell you that’s incorrect. By voting, you’re doing the opposite of throwing your vote away. Those who do not vote and are able to vote are, in fact, throwing theirs away. According to the U.S. Census, there are 83.1 million millennials, meaning if all of them were to vote, they would out-vote the 75.4 million baby boomers.

Furthermore, third party voting is not throwing your vote away. As Forbes contributor Art Carden wrote in 2012, “How are you not throwing your vote away if you vote for a Democrat or Republican when there is a candidate on the ballot who better represents your preferences?”

When asked, “Is a vote for a third party candidate a wasted one?” 64 percent of voters said no, and those who said yes cited a general “corrupt voting system” as the reasoning.

Think about what you stand for politically, socially and economically, then research each candidate and his or her party. A great place to start learning is, but, as with most internet resources, it should not be the end-all-be-all. Educate yourself, educate others and, above all, get out and vote.