“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”
– Samuel Adams, in the Boston Gazette, 1781
BURNET, Texas (July 12) – Every election Libertarians are invariably confronted with the charge that a vote for a Libertarian candidate is a wasted vote. The accuser claims that if you really wanted limited government you should vote for the candidate who has a chance of winning — the Republican. In some rare cases, the assertion may be that if you really wanted to protect civil liberties you’d vote for the candidate who has a chance of winning — the Democrat. And yet, our liberty goes unprotected as government grows unimpeded.
To my utter astonishment, this bogus argument invariably causes some genuine freedom-loving people to betray their stated beliefs. Why do they leap from the Ship of Principle into the stormy Sea of Compromise at the very moment their strength, courage and resolve are needed the most? Only one thing makes a person abandon everything they’ve ever believed in and fought for — desperation, the feeling that all is lost and the best one can do is choose the lesser of two evils. Even telling them that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil doesn’t seem to dissuade them from their decision.
Little do they realize that they have once again been duped by the Wasted Vote Lie. It is a deliberate, carefully crafted fable concocted and perpetrated by the Democratic and Republican duopoly to maintain their stranglehold on power. They cleverly employ the propaganda trick of tyrants throughout the ages; if you repeat a lie loud enough and often enough eventually people will believe it.
The worst thing about voting for the “lesser of two evils” is that it actually has the opposite effect of what it’s intended to do. Winning candidates don’t know, they don’t want to know — and frankly don’t care — why people vote for them. They certainly don’t know and don’t care how many of the votes they got were so-called protest votes. All they want is enough votes to win. They’ll consider all the votes they get as an endorsement of their campaign promises or past performance to claim a “mandate from the people.”
In a bipartisan 67-50 vote, the state House of Representatives approved a bill to dramatically lower the threshold for a new political party to gain and maintain ballot access in North Carolina. The bill lowers the number of signatures a new party must obtain to 0.25 percent of registered voters. That party could then retain ballot status by getting 0.25 percent of the votes for president, governor or any council of state office, whichever is lower.
Rep. Stephen LaRoque (R-Lenoir) introduced H.B. 32, the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, with both Republicans and Democrats as primary sponsors. “There’s a wide-variety of membership in support of this bill who have come together for the idea that it is too difficult under present law for those citizens who want to create a small party to get on the ballot,” said Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham), a primary sponsor.
The House vote reflected bipartisan support with 38 Democrats and 29 Republicans voting in favor. The measure also has backing from a broad spectrum of groups from across the political spectrum, including the Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties, Democracy NC, the John Locke Foundation and the N.C. League of Women Voters.
“When political parties and public policy groups with such divergent views unite in a common cause it clearly attests to the fact that ballot access reform is not a partisan or special-interest group issue, but a question of fundamental freedom that transcends political and ideological differences,” said Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D-Edgecombe, Wilson), another primary sponsor.
The vice chairman of the N.C. Republican Party has endorsed passage of House Bill 32, the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011.
In a statement, Tim Johnson said, “House Bill 32, The Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, is a great opportunity to level the playing field and to give all citizens the equal opportunity to fully participate in the governing of our Republic.”
“As a Republican, I believe this party represents the best choice for Americans, but as a Republican I also believe allowing more political parties and individuals to participate in the electoral process will result in the best ideas and best people winning, and ensure that we’re not stuck with the status quo,” he said.
The bill will dramatically reduce the ballot access restrictions for new political parties and unaffiliated candidates. It would set at 10,000 the number of signatures a new party must collect to be listed on the ballot, or for an unaffiliated candidate to run for a statewide office, including governor, council of state or U.S. Senator.
“We welcome Mr. Johnson’s endorsement and thank him for his support of the individual’s right to self-government,” said Jordon M. Greene, president of Free the Vote North Carolina, the group that originated the bill. “This endorsement is further proof that the issue of free choice and ballot access reform goes beyond partisanship and is truly a matter of basic freedom and equality of opportunity.”
by Brian Irving
A bill to dramatically reduce the ballot access restrictions for new political parties and unaffiliated candidates was introduced in the state General Assembly Feb. 3. House Bill 32, The Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, would set at 10,000 the number of signatures a new party must collect to be listed on the ballot. It would establish the same number for unaffiliated candidate to run for a statewide office, including governor, council of state or U.S. Senator.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Stephen LaRoque (R-10) and co-sponsored by Reps. Glen Bradley (R49), Paul Luebke (D-11) and Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D-24). Bert Jones, the only unaffiliated member of the House, is a co-sponsor, along with Larry Hall (D-29), Pricey Harrison (D-57), Harry Warren (R-77), Jonathan Jordon (R-93), Rodney Moore (D-99), and Jennifer Weiss (D-35).
Several alternative political parties and electoral reform groups have formed the Free the Vote Coalition in support of the bill. The coalition is a project of Free the Vote North Carolina, a non-partisan political action committee dedicated to protecting freedom of speech, association and the right to vote of every North Carolinian through education, research and legislative advocacy.
Free the Vote North Carolina is the new name for the political action committee formerly called North Carolinians for Free and Proper Elections. The group recently adopted the new name and unveiled a new website.
“Free the Vote NC is a much better description of our mission,” said founder and president Jordon Greene. “Our goal remains the same. We’re dedicated to bringing about free, equal and proper elections in our state which has a history of highly restrictive ballot access laws.”
Despite changes in the state’s election laws, Greene said that ballot access remains a major obstacle for anyone outside the two major parties and the problem is getting worse.
“We believe North Carolina’s ballot access laws not only restrict constitutionally protected rights, but exist merely as an expedient to preserve the power and influence of the major parties and incumbents,” Greene said.
The Free the Vote NC board of directors includes representatives from the Libertarian, Constitution, Conservative and Modern Whig parties. The group intends to lobby for passage of a ballot access reform bill they have drafted in the next session of the general assembly.
“North Carolina still has the second most restrictive ballot access requirements in the nation,”Greene said. Free the Vote NC wants to reduce the number of signatures needed for a third party or independent candidate to get on the ballot, and reduce the number of votes a new party must get to retain ballot status.
Greene said the group will be reaching to all political parties and groups across the political spectrum to form a coalition in support of this simple and basic reform.
Follow Free the Vote NC on Facebook.