Beyond red and blue: 3rd party voters in the Twin Ports

Duluth supporters of the Libertarian Party are hopeful of this election’s outcome in their favor, but they are already looking ahead to the next election. “We hope to get things going for future local elections, but we got a late start for this one,” said Ray Whitledge, Twin Ports affiliate to the Libertarian party.

Whitledge is the first Twin Ports head affiliate in the last few years as the last chapter fell by the wayside due to lack in support.

“The chairman in the Twin Cities asked if I would be willing to restart the affiliate and I said yes,” Whitledge said.

The Libertarian Party's candidates for 2012 election are the former two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson for president and James Gray for vice president.

The local affiliate has been inviting supporters out to wave signs for Johnson’s campaign to get the word out to Twin Port voters.

“We’ve had three sign waving events so far and one last one before the election,” Whitledge said.

The turnout hasn’t been strong, according to Whitledge, but efforts are still being made for one final push prior to the Election Day. “The first went well, but the last two not so much because of inclement weather. We had five or six show up, but we’re hoping for more this last time,” Whitledge said.

“We’re having one more sign waving event either this upcoming Sunday or Monday,” said Whitledge. “All are welcome to come.”

Whitledge failed to comment on the Libertarian platform, but according to Libertarians for Minnesota website, a Libertarian run government has one function and one function only: to protect the rights of the individual citizen. The Libertarian party bases its platform on giving citizens the right to exercise sole control over their lives, free from means of control from the government.

Following the two major parties on the ballot, third parties throughout history have not had a strong voter turnout. Unfortunately this year, according to Whitledge, will be no different.

“We’re only expecting about five to twelve percent of the vote in this (election),” Whitledge said.

However, that is all that is needed in order to stop the dominance of the Republican and Democratic parties on the national ballot.

When Rick Nolan, Democratic candidate for Minnesota’s 6th District, was asked about how this would affect ballots and campaigning in the future, he commented that the “third parties just always force the major parties to consider issues that they believe to be neglected, and when they’re right more often than not, their views end up being embraced by one or both of the major parties, and from time to time they’re not right, in which event they just evaporate and they disappear so only time will tell.”

If Johnson and the Libertarian Party reach their five percent threshold, the door opens for future Libertarian candidates to have less restrictions on getting their names on the federal ballot and receiving far more money in federal campaign grants, according to the Federal Elections Campaign Laws.

Although this election push got off to a late start, Whitledge and other Libertarian Party supporters are hopeful for future campaigns to come.

“For upcoming local elections down the road we hope to be more active and get things going sooner,” Whitledge said.

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