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Always Vote Your Conscience on Election Day

A+New+Hampshire+voter+checked+in+at+a+polling+station+in+Manchester%2C+N.H.%2C+on+Tuesday%2C+Feb.+9%2C+2016%2C+as+both+Republicans+and+Democrats+registered+votes+in+their+respective+presidential+primaries.+%28Bao+Dandan%2FXinhua%2FSipa+USA%2FTNS%29
A New Hampshire voter checked in at a polling station in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, as both Republicans and Democrats registered votes in their respective presidential primaries. (Bao Dandan/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)

A New Hampshire voter checked in at a polling station in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, as both Republicans and Democrats registered votes in their respective presidential primaries. (Bao Dandan/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)

TNS

TNS

A New Hampshire voter checked in at a polling station in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, as both Republicans and Democrats registered votes in their respective presidential primaries. (Bao Dandan/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)

Ben Feldman, News Editor

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In this seemingly never-ending election cycle, we have all been dreading November 8th. The day that will decide our future for the next four years. The day where we will cast our opinions on who would be the best leader of the free world. For many, that is a frightening possibility.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been two of the least popular candidates in modern history. Mrs. Clinton once hit 59% unfavorable, Mr. Trump once hit 70. Most of the advertisements that each are running show only the negative effects of voting for the other.

Most of the undecided voters who will vote one way or another on election day are only going to do so because they couldn’t imagine the possibility of the other being president, even if it means the person for whom they vote is not their ideal candidate (to say the least.)

Thus we have seen an astounding effect of this clothespin election: only about half this nation actually wants to see either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton elected. For the rest of us, both are terrible options.

Mr. Trump has mocked disabled reporters, gold star families, war heroes, has undeniable and shady connections with Vladimir Putin, and may have not paid taxes in the last 18 years.

Mrs. Clinton is a chronic liar, deleted 33,000 emails (which have been determined against the law by FBI director Comey), and caused 4 Americans to die in Benghazi through her decions. I’ll agree: neither candidate is a good match for us for the next four years.

But it doesn’t have to go down like this.

First, I’ll say this: one vote will not sway Pennsylvania. Most pundits predict Mrs. Clinton winning our state, and if Mr. Trump ends up winning as the few have asserted, it’ll be because all the polls were completely wrong and it’ll be a landslide.

The closest state in recent history was Florida in 2000, and even that came down to several hundred votes. No matter what, your vote will not lead to your least-favorite candidate heading to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Secondly, our constitution and founding principles look to uphold freedom of speech and free elections. Though Washington may have wanted a no-party system, the idea that we vote for whoever we think will do the best job still stands.

We have write-in options for a reason. We have only three constitutional restrictions on who can be president for a reason. We have no constitutional restrictions on when a person needs to declare candidacy, who is allowed to vote for him or her, and how a person can get on the ballot for a reason.

Our founders wanted there to always be a best solution—a representative democracy that represents the American people the best, not represents the less-than-half who couldn’t bear to think of some other candidate being elected.

Thus, the only way to “throw out your vote” in this election is to vote for a candidate whom you do not really want to see in office. If you can’t stand Mrs. Clinton but can’t stand Mr. Trump more, don’t vote for her. If you can’t stand Mr. Trump but can’t stand Mrs. Clinton more, don’t vote for him, either.

Think of it like this: Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump see these votes as approval ratings. One hundred votes for Mr. Trump will be interpreted by Mr. Trump as 100 people who want to Make America Great Again, not one hundred people who just hated Mrs. Clinton more.

Further, if only 20% of America actually votes and 70% of them vote for Mr. Trump, he will interpret it as 70% of America wants a President Trump, even if the remaining 80% actually liked Gary Johnson.

To summarize, if you want to send a message to both candidates that they can’t ever do this again, vote third party. Because one thing that would keep a President Clinton up at night would be winning with under 50% of the popular vote.

We can force the next president to act for the next four years under the lens of not having a single vote to spare, and thus change policies to be more popular.

If you don’t like Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump, but think Mr. Trump is worse, vote Jill Stein, or even vote for Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Corey Booker to try to encourage them to run in 2020. If you don’t like Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump, but think Mrs. Clinton is worse, vote Gary Johnson, or Evan McMullan, or even John Kasich or Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz to encourage them to run in 2020.

I’ll end with this: voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for an evil. As Americans, we have an obligation to vote for the best 4 years we can create. This election cycle, if you don’t know for whom to vote, vote your conscious.

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Always Vote Your Conscience on Election Day