12th AMENDMENT!!! Undecided, Republican, and Democrat voters. There is something we need to know about this upcoming election and no, I am not promoting a particular candidate or "side." This applies to all of us regardless of political leanings. If you are dismayed over your choices put forth by the two major political parties, then read on!
Many of us feel frustration over the two major political party choices. Both sides feel that voting for a 3rd party would be "throwing their vote away" and "handing their vote to the opposing party."
I urge you to NOT listen to this and instead DO vote your conscience!!! Here's why.
Under the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, if no political candidate receives the 270 Electoral College (majority) votes to be President, then the U.S. House of Representatives, by votes, determines the President and the Senate, also by votes, determines the Vice President. It is important to note that the House takes the top three Electoral College vote winners and uses that pool of three candidates to select the President.
While this has not occurred since 1824-1825, it is "stand-by equipment" written into our Constitution in the event no one gets the majority of the Electoral College votes to win.
What this means is that IF enough people vote 3rd party (and there are nine total tickets listed on the ballot - I found this out only this week when my absentee ballot arrived), thereby causing neither the Republican candidate nor the Democrat candidate to get the 270, the decision goes to the Legislative Branch of the federal government.
It is unlikely a 3rd party candidate would win the whole 270 votes and be declared the victor. Under this thinking the "throwing your vote away" comments are accurate. However, a 3rd party candidate does not need to WIN. The 3rd party candidate just needs enough Electoral College votes to dislodge the two major political parties from getting to 270.
If this occurred it could open up the choices and gridlock of the two party system. Why do we not hear about this option afforded to us citizens in the Constitution? Well, you can surmise the reason on your own.
I am providing a link from the Library of Congress, which will explain this more. However, there are many sites available to also verify this is true. I am also providing the actual wording of the 12th Amendment. As this is an important part of our jobs as active citizens, I urge you to do your own reading.