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The AZ Senate and the risks of third party voting

By Sarah Kocher 

Coming off of the blue wave that took the House of Representatives this week, another, much smaller, blue wave is attempting to crest in Arizona. A longtime conservative state, Arizona started to turn a light purple in the 2016 election; Trump ultimately won the state, but by a mere 3.5 percent. As a born and raised Arizonan, it has been one hell of a ride watching my home turn into a battleground state.

A huge eye-opener in 2016 was just how severe of a threat to the future of our country voting third party is. Plainly and simply put – voting third party in the United States does not work. Our electoral system is not multi-party. It frustrates me to no end when my fellow millennials and students try to be edgy and vote third party

Two years later, Arizona is still very purple. With the recent death of Sen. John McCain and the retirement of Sen. Jeff Flake, both Republicans, all bets were off for the 2018 midterms. Now, for the first time in Arizona history, we will have a female senator. Whom exactly that will be, we still do not know. 

Republican Rep. Martha McSally and Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema have been entrenched in a head-to-head race for months – and the end remains out of sight. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, the race is too close to call. As of Thursday, Nov. 8, Sinema leads by 9,610 votes, less than one percent. 

This race is so close because of – you guessed it – a third-party candidate. As if no one learned their lesson two years ago, more people decided to be “edgy” and vote for Angela Green of the Green Party. On Thursaday, Nov. 1, a week before the election, Green dropped out of the race and endorsed Sinema.

What people outside of Arizona do not realize, however, is that many citizens opt in to a permanent early voting by mail system where we get our ballots nearly a month before the election. Despite no longer running, Green’s name remained on both the early-voting ballots and the ballots at the polls on Election Day. She has 2.3 percent of the vote in this razor-thin race.

Voting for Green to begin with was irresponsible, but what is even more irresponsible is being so incredibly negligent to wait so long to drop out of the race. It was too late to take her name off the ballot, and Green’s statement when she quit included, “I knew I wasn’t going to win.”

Third-party candidates have had success in the past; see Ralph Nader and Ross Perot. However, that was the past, when our politics were not as divisive as they are now. The right wants to take away a woman’s right to choose, wants to take away health care and allow insurance companies to bankrupt families and actively neglects and denies scientific facts – see the recent U.N. report on climate change.

McSally’s policies align with these; she voted to replace the Affordable Care Act and allow insurance companies to drastically hike rates for people with preexisting conditions and then blatantly lied about it. Other policy positions include being staunchly pro-life and being an immigration hardliner.

Voting third party because you despise the candidate on the right but are not a huge fan of Democratic candidate is careless. The issues at stake are going to have a drastic effect on people’s lives; so please, do not be selfish by voting third party.

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