There is an old phrase stating that knowledge is power. For voters, that is no exception. An informed voter knows which candidates are running for office at election time and makes the decision which candidates they will vote for before walking in the door at the polls on election day. Voters who have educated themselves on the candidates running for election have the power to elect or reject. Unfortunately, many voters do not understand the extent that this power extends. Sadly, many eligible voters do not exercise their voting rights at all in any election.
To be informed, it takes time to become educated about one’s voting options, and many people do not want to take the time to gain that knowledge on their own. Modern technology with cell phones makes it possible to access the internet on one’s cell phone making answers literally a couple of clicks and moments away from finding out just about anything one wants to know. However, this instant access to information allows people to be lazy. To find out which candidates are on the ballot is easy. All one has to do is go online and point and click or watch news shows on TV to learn all about the latest poll results predicting who will be the next President of the United States. Local news provides information about the state senators, state reps and candidates running for the other offices. Voters should have no excuses to not know which Democrats and Republicans are running for office this election.
Wait! Hold on a minute! Just about anyone who is of voting age knows that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are candidates running for President this year. A majority of voters most likely know that there are open seats on the United States Legislature. Bob Casey Jr. and Tom Smith are running for Pennsylvania Senate. Karen Ramsburg and Bill Shuster are competing to be the next Pennsylvania Representative. Let’s not forget that there are seats to be filled on the Pennsylvania State Legislature and also ones to elect through the Pennsylvania Executive. Informed voters will be be aware of all of this information and probably will know who they are voting for before November 6th. What a good number of these same informed voters may not know is that for a majority of the positions open this election there are more than two candidates in the running, and these candidates represent political parties outside of the Republican and Democratic Parties.
Could it really be possible to have a choice outside of the two-party political system? Absolutely! Just the same, the Democrats and Republicans would prefer that voters think there is only one choice which is only one of their candidates. Doubtful that is the case? Do a Google search using the words “2012 Presidential Candidates” http://2012.presidential-candidates.org/ and watch what comes up. Granted, the toolbar at the top of the page gives readers the option to view all candidates, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, Republicans; however, the message in big black bold lettering on the left side of the page Romney Vs. Obama and in smaller red and blue color print stating “HEAD TO HEAD” center action on only two candidates who happen to be representing the Republican and Democrats. An article in the mid-center of the website stating “Obama Wins Debate, Romney Achieves Objective” leads voters to believe that even if there are other candidates running for this office that they are out of the running not even worth consideration.
The uninformed voter is fine settling with this only this information having two choices. There is too much work which takes up too much of their time to research other possibilities. After all, why bother? It comes down to only two options at the end? Right? Only if people want it to be that way. The informed voter rejects the offer of having only two choices. After all, who wants to go to a restaurant and be told they can only have chicken or beef? What if someone wants to eat pork? How about the person who enjoys steak? The poor vegetarian would go hungry if they could only choose between two entrees neither of which they are able or willing to consume. No one tells the people who want to eat meat other than beef or chicken that those options are worthless and not to bother. Try telling the vegetarian they can only eat one of two meats and see how many restaurants would keep their customers, yet we allow the “Republicrats” as Ron Paul refers to them in his book THE REVOLUTION to provide no options and to ridicule and even attempt to shut out the ones that exist. Doubtful that is the case? Libertarian candidate for United States President, Gary Johnson, along with other Libertarian candidates for state offices had to fight to get their names on the ballot in Pennsylvania. It took a ruling by Commonwealth Judge James Gardner Colins to determine that the Libertarians provided enough signatures to be listed for offices for candidacy in this state. http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/politics-state/judge-libertarian-candidates-for-president-statewide-offices-can-remain-on-ballot-657148/#ixzz291a12rqT If the Libertarians had not challenged the lower court ruling, there would only be two names listed for a majority of the offices listed on the ballot leaving voters who want more the only option to write-in the name of the candidate they want to elect.
This election year allows voters the opportunity to vote for one of four candidates running for President. Obama and Romney may be the most recognizable names for choice of President, but there are also Gary Johnson http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/ from the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein http://www.jillstein.org/from the Green Party on the ballot for 2012. For all the uninformed voters and even the disinterested voters in Pennsylvania who would like to become informed and educated about what options exist this election year, the League of Women Voters makes it simple to find out that information. http://www.smartvoter.org/2012/11/06/pa/dp/ballot.html For Dauphin County, voters have the option of choosing not just from one of the candidates representing four political parties, but there are at least three choices for Attorney General, Auditor General, State Treasurer and United State Senator. District 4 is the only one that offers four choices for US Representative to include a Republican, Libertarian, Democrat and Independent, but this is varies county to county in Pennsylvania. The good news is that as voters there are choices and options that exist. We do not need to settle between chicken or beef in a restaurant, and surely do not need to limit ourselves to just two choices politically.