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I’m still an expat (albeit in a different country), which means again I get the excitement of voting before the general American populace does.

The general media impression aside, there are not only two presidential candidates (Obama and Romney). Both the Green and the Libertarian parties also are running candidates (at least in Pennsylvania).

I’ll be voting for either Jill Stein (Green Party) or Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) when my absentee ballot arrives. I’m tired of being told that voting for a third party is a “wasted vote.” A “wasted vote” is, in my opinion, voting for a candidate one dislikes simply because they are “electable.” I dislike both Obama and Romney, and I refuse to vote for a candidate simply because I dislike them less than the other one.

Polls consistently claim that the majority of Americans have no party affiliation (i.e., are independent). If all of these so-called independents actually voted independently (i.e., they voted for the candidates they liked rather than disliked less, both the Democrats and the Republicans would have to wake up and notice. Even if other candidates never won, the larger blocks of disaffected voters would require the two big parties to think more creatively about their policies and positions. Perhaps the current trend of extremes in primaries and mad rush to the middle for elections could be ended. Perhaps we could get a broader array of candidates from which to choose.

Don’t waste your vote by either not voting or voting for the candidate you think is sort of better than the other guy. Do some research and find a candidate you actually like. Then vote for him or her. (Do this for congress, too).

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