By Nicaela Giglia- Layout Editor

    If someone were to look solely at the mainstream media in the U.S. to all intents and purposes it would seem that our presidential election consists of only two candidates and two parties. The Democrats and the Republicans seem to be the only ones who matter in this election which brings the election down to a fifty/fifty chance of President Obama continuing his time in office or Mitt Romney adding his name to the 45th spot.  When the voter looks at the ballot on Nov. 9 the names Gary Johnson (the Libertarian candidate) and Jill Stein (the Green Independent candidate) will not evoke any sort of recognition whatsoever. They were not included in the debates that have made it to all the major networks on TV with live coverage or any type of major network coverage that Romney and Obama have received. In some ways, this could be good because they didn’t have their dirty laundry broadcast across the nation, but it also means that they have barely any chance of being recognized at the end of the day.

    When it comes down to the vote, some people consider those who vote for someone other than these two main parties as a “waste” of a vote because these lesser knowns don’t have a chance of beating the Democratic or Republican candidate. How then is anyone supposed to make that choice? The reality is that one of these two main candidates is going to win unless there is rebellious movement of national size which creates a humungous upset. Does it then come down to choosing the best of the two even though you might not agree totally with your selected candidate? A vote is a vote and as long as you are contributing your voice to the democracy it is a lot more than can be said for people who complain about the problems, but aren’t doing anything to contribute to the change. In my opinion, if we consider our current election Romney and Obama have two very different directions for the country. I’m someone who is in favor of equal rights to marriage, freedom of choice for women and many other issues that Romney doesn’t support. Even though there may be other candidates who have views that better match mine, the choice I want to make is the one that will have the best chance to beat the candidate whose views are the most opposed to mine. That is what I am basing my vote on…how will you make your choice?

    In the end, whether you decide to stick to one of the mainstream candidates or vote for the lesser known at least you are making an effort to contribute your voice and opinion to our nation. Even Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters have had their chance at the election spotlight by being one of the most voted “write in” candidates, but even these voters have taken the time to go out and add their voice (if more funny than anything else) to the issues that they consider important. The only way you can waste your vote, is by not voting at all.