If you were to ask a political activist who strongly values the ideals of liberty and a constitutionally-limited government who was the best candidate running for president in 2012, chances are many of them would enthusiastically answer Representative Ron Paul of Texas. I know that I would! Unfortunately, due a number of issues, some relating the unfair tactics of the Republican National Committee, other due to errors on the part of the Ron Paul campaign, Dr. Paul is not the Republican nominee and will not be showing up on the ballot on November 6th.
As a result, some die hard Ron Paul supporters are planning to write-in Dr. Paul as opposed to voting for one of the other candidates. However, I must caution my fellow Virginians, for I believe such a decision is a mistake.
Here in Virginia, we have five candidates on the ballot for president. Besides both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, who presumably everyone knows, we also have Virgil Goode, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein. Although write-ins are technically allowed in the Commonwealth, they are of practically zero value, as the state board of elections does not report individual write-ins.
Don’t believe me? In the general election of 2011, I worked as an election official for a precinct in Rockingham County. At the end of Election Day, we dutifully recorded each and every write-in response for each office and there were a fair number of them. They ranged from potentially legitimate candidates to fictitious characters like Mickey Mouse and “anyone but the guy in there now”. Look at the official results for House of Delegates in Rockingham County. The only two options listed are Tony Wilt and the rather generic Write In candidate. And that race isn’t some sort of anomaly. Every race in 2011 is the very same way, so too are the election results for each year available on the state board’s website. Let me tell you that the only people who know whether a write-in vote is for a legitimate and real person or someone absurd like Homer Simpson are the voter who cast the vote and the election officials. They are the only ones.
So, now that we’ve established that a write-in vote is close to worthless in Virginia, why would anyone still write-in Dr. Paul? As I’ve already mentioned, we have five candidates running for president that will be on the ballot. Are any of them as great as Ron Paul? No. Although each has his or her merits and flaws, none are quite as good. However, given the fact that we do have a number of choices, at least one of them has to share a lot of our political principles. Now, as I’ve mentioned previously, if you don’t know much about them, I would recommend visiting iSideWith.com to find out with which candidate or candidates that you most closely align.
If, however, at the end of the day, you still feel compelled to write-in Dr. Paul, I will not condemn such an action. After all, I believe that the most important facet of voting is to never betray your convictions. Nevertheless, if you explore the candidates with an open mind, I’m pretty sure you’ll find one that is more than acceptable. I know that I did.
I encourage you to take heart. Remember! Regardless of the outcome on November 6th, this great movement spearheaded by Ron Paul will not die so long as we faithfully promote the cause of liberty in our words, our deeds, and in our votes.
Best of luck to you on Election Day, fellow Ron Paul supporter!
For liberty and responsibility!