Do Third-Party Candidates Spoil Elections?


Americans will finally head to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the midterm elections, which is raising all the usual questions about the value of third-party candidates: Do they add variety and serve as a check on the major parties, or do just spoil things for the real candidates?

Earlier this month Reason TV's Nick Gillespie sat down with Avin Vohra, vice chair of the Libertarian National Committee, to discuss the big issues in this election and why he thinks voting for the Libertarian Party isn't throwing away a vote.

The story originall ran on October 28, 2014. Here's the original write-up: 

"When you give [Democrats and Republicans] your vote, you're telling them 'Go ahead, keep on doing what you're doing,'" explains Libertarian National Committee Vice Chair Arvin Vohra. "And when you vote for the Libertarian candidate you are telling them, in no uncertain terms, 'You do not have either my approval or my permission to grow or sustain big government: shrink it now.'"

As the midterm elections approach, Democrats and Republicans are making their final pleas to win over undecided voters, with some casting Libertarian candidates as "spoilers" in a few key races. But Vorha, himself running as a Libertarian for Maryland's 4th congressional district against Democratic incumbent Donna Edwards, dismisses the charge. Despite his low poll numbers, Vohra sees the act of casting a vote for the Libertarian Party as a pathway to reform. He quotes a former Libertarian candidate: "Not all politicians are smart, but they can all count." 

Vohra recently sat down with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie to discuss the 2014 elections, the issues that resonate across the country, and why he believes voting for the Libertarian Party is not throwing your vote away. 

Shot by Meredith Bragg and Joshua Swain. Edited by Swain.