I just voted for Gary Johnson in early voting about an hour ago, but here is a good reason for me to know I did the right thing:
What is he talking about? The Federal Election Commission spells it out, at least when it comes to the money:
The Presidential nominee of each major party may become eligible for a public grant of $20,000,000 plus COLA (over 1974). For 2012, the grant is approximately $91,241,400 for each major party nominee. With the exception of the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, every major party nominee has accepted the general election grant since the program’s inception in 1976. Candidates themselves may not raise any other funds to be used for campaigning during the general election period.
Public grants of $18,248,300 went to each of the major parties for their conventions in 2012.
Since no third party candidate received 5% of the vote in 2008, only the Republican and Democratic parties are eligible for 2012 convention grants, and only their nominees may receive grants for the general election when they are nominated. Third-party candidates could qualify for retroactive public funds if they receive 5% or more of the vote in the general election.
… And the United States Department of State gives some more details:
In the general election, nominees of the major parties for President and Vice President are automatically eligible for a flat stipend from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. In 1996, the major-party candidates, Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, each received $61.8 million for the general election (an amount which is adjusted every four years for cost-of-living changes). No private contributions may be accepted by major-party candidates who receive general election public funding, except for a specified amount from their parties’ national committees.
Third-party candidates may get public funds in an amount proportionate to votes received by that party as compared with the major parties in the previous presidential election. In 1996, Ross Perot became the first third-party candidate to be eligible and received $29.1 million as a Reform Party candidate. Independent or new party candidates may receive retroactive public funds after the election, if they get at least 5% of the popular votes. John Anderson, in 1980, was the only candidate to date who received this benefit–some $4.2 million
Parties may receive public funds for their national nominating conventions. The two major parties each received $12.4 million in 1996. This amount, also, is subject to cost- of-living increases. No minor parties have qualified to date for this subsidy.
As for the ballot issue, Gary Johnson is on the ballot of 48 states and the District of Columbia, but some states, like Oklahoma where Gary Johnson is not on the ballot and cannot be written in, require a petition signed by 5% of the previous year’s voting population to add a new political party to the open ballots. The 5% national vote does not really change that requirement, but hopefully it will encourage more people to get out there and sign those petitions in the future.
I have absolutely no delusions about Mr. Johnson actually being able to walk away with a win from this coming election (simply because too many Americans, including some who should know better, have bought into the circular reasoning, false dichotomy, and self-fulfilling prophecies surrounding the "two-party system"), but I do know it is well past time for Americans to have a better choice than just between two flavors of gos-se sandwich.
I did vote for that.
--Download be the five percent as PDF --