, Newburyport, MA

October 4, 2012

Third-party candidates increase turnout

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

With each election, a larger number of Americans simply stay home. This year, I’ve heard more cynicism and hopelessness about the process than at any time in my life. A majority stay home even for presidential elections — over two-thirds for off-year races. Many young people cite the lack of choices, corruption in politics, broken promises to bring the troops home, corporate subsidies and the power of monied interests in state and national politics. Many Americans believe that Congress is for sale.

The Libertarians, Greens and Constitution Party have candidates on the ballot. Most notably, two-term Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico has been polling between 6 to 9 percent nationally since pursuing the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president. Johnson has been making the case for bringing the troops home, ending corporate welfare, restoring Constitutional rights, ending prison time for marijuana use and balancing the federal budget.

Most Western countries have several political parties. Giving voters more options, turnout ranges between 70 to 90 percent in those countries because people feel that they have more say in the process. Voting for third-party candidates each year sends an unmistakable message to Congress that you are not happy with the way special interest groups and lobbyists have been inserting earmarks into bills and special tax breaks in committee, and it helps to build a more open political climate that offers real choice to voters in the future.

Max Abramson