Giving 3rd Parties a 2nd Look

Tired of just two parties? Consider 3rd party candidates in November’s election.

November elections are only a few weeks away. It is not a presidential election year (although many wish it were), but there are important offices to be filled such as judges at all levels, city council and mayor.

Some races are already decided simply based on the democratic registration advantage in Philadelphia.

But there’s one office where you might want to consider a strategic voting approach, and that’s city council-at-large. City council consists of 17 members — 10 members represent specific districts while 7 at-large members represent the entire city. Two of the seven at-large seats are reserved for minority party members, so the seven seats are usually filled by five democrats and two republicans.

Your voting ballot will include 5 democratic at-large candidates, 5 republican at-large candidates, and currently 6 third-party candidates who identified themselves in election filings as: Independent (2), Libertarian (1), Working Family (2), and Term Limits Philadelphia (1).

You can vote for up to 5. The party power brokers count on democrats voting for the 5 democratic candidates and republicans voting for the 5 republican candidates. Given the registration advantage, the democratic candidates typically receive 100,000+ votes and fill 5 of the slots. Republican candidates receive something closer to 35,000 votes, and the top two vote getters fill the two minority slots.

But what if we didn’t vote that way at all? What if we only vote for candidates we really like, regardless of party? And if that means we only vote for one or two or three, our votes for those candidates become amplified.

What if you are one of the increasingly large number of voters who decline to register with a party, or you’re someone who thinks the two-party system of combat is damaging our democracy?

As always you can go to the non-partisan Committee of Seventy website (www.seventy.org) to see what your ballot will look like, and for information about all the candidates. Look at the council-at-large candidate’s websites – it won’t take long to figure out who best speaks to your priorities.

Set aside an evening for research prior to November 5th and join me in this radical approach – only vote for at-large candidates you actually like. I’ve already picked out my three.

About Karen Melton 8 Articles
Karen Melton volunteers with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, 350 Philly and Sierra Club. She’s lived in East Falls for 27 years and since retiring in 2012 has been a full-time environmental advocate.

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