“Some degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of every thing; and in no instance is this more true than in that of the press. It has accordingly been decided, by the practice of the states, that it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches to their luxuriant growth, than, by pruning them away, to injure the vigor of those yielding the proper fruits.”
by James Madison




"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

be the five percent


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.

14 comments to be the five percent

  • Tom

    Ha ha! I beat you by a full two days! I did early voting here in TX on Tuesday when the markets were closed and heard that the wait was short at the polling place. Hopefully Johnson will get 5%, though that might be a stretch, just to get some of the public money. I’ll be curious what kind of numbers he gets here in TX.

  • Rolf

    I think that if you are in a state that is overwhelmingly blue or red, then a Johnson vote is a very reasonable choice. If you are in a close state, however, where only a percentage will make the difference of Obama or Romney, the risk (IMHO) is to high, but I won’t hold it against those that do. Unless the election is stolen by Dems because it was within the margin of fraud.

  • Aaaaagh

    I’m wailing and gnashing right now, over your “wasted vote”

  • I have go go with Rolf and 1 With a bullet.

    Though the margin of fraud gets larger and larger.

    And if Romney gets the popular vote but the EC is close just watch the progs pretend that 2000 and all their NPV projects don’t exist.

  • I’ve considered early voting, but Virginia restricts who can do that. Plus, I’m not entirely convinced it’s a good idea – I like to give the candidates right up to the last day to screw up and let me know I shouldn’t vote for them (if Benghazi happened Monday instead of back in September, how many people might have regretted voting early?).

    But, barring any last minute screw-up on his part, my vote is going to Johnson. I don’t see the consequences of a Romney win being any better than an Obama win, just bad in a different way. So why should I care which one wins?

    If Johnson gets 5% of the vote, the LP gets guaranteed ballot access in all 50 states. Federal grants aside, that by itself is money, time, and effort that the LP can put towards actual campaigning instead of just begging for enough signatures just to qualify. That’s worth it on its own. The federal money would just be icing on the cake.

  • @ Tom: Yesterday was the last day for early voting here in TN… I had been dragging my feet, considering whether or not I wanted the full “election day experience”, but concluded that standing around in line for hours on end was not really my idea of a good time, and I might as well get it over with.

    Thankfully, the election commission here has finally abandoned their “binders full of voters” and gone to an entirely electronic system – their throughput was borderline amazing, especially compared to past elections.

    @ 1 With A Bullet: He is exactly right:

    Whether we win or lose, I will be able to face the next four years knowing I used all the power I had to do all the good I could in this flawed and imperfect world.

    And so will I. That is what “principles” mean.

    @ Rolf: I have absolutely no doubt the Democrats will attempt to use every method available to them – legal/moral or not – to ensure their victory, just like they do in every election. That said, I have no obligation to ensure anyone except the best candidate is put into office, regardless of how my state might or might not trend (interestingly, TN being a “red” state is a relatively recent phenomena, and we are only projected to have about a 10% difference).

    @ MSgt B: I am sure you are.

    @ The Jack: I figure if Romney wins with anything less than 2% of the popular vote and two states’ electoral college votes, Obama will actually walk away with the victory. But I am cynical like that.

    @ Jake: Eh. If people have not found a good enough reason to not vote for Obama and Romney over the past four+ years, then nothing they do in the next few days is going to matter that much. But each to their own, and if VA is stupid about it, you might as well wait :).

  • Linoge if anything you’re being optimistic.

    Robb Allen and JayG are are more “bullish” about the margin of cheating.

    Personally I don’t think it matters by what margin the popular vote is by. Again Gore/Bush and NPV will be memory holed.

  • Oh, I am quite sure the Democrats will conveniently forget all of the whinging and creativity they engaged in back when their butts were on the line – that goes without saying.

    The real question is how far they can stretch the game. I guess we will see.

  • @ Linoge:

    If people have not found a good enough reason to not vote for Obama and Romney over the past four+ years, then nothing they do in the next few days is going to matter that much.

    True, but there are always the other races to think about – Congress and the General Assembly, and local stuff – and they are arguably just as, if not more, important than voting for the next king president.

    We’re having a special election to fill the remainder of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s term, since he was appointed as a judge a couple of months ago, and that’s had some mildly interesting back-and-forth in the last couple of weeks. I’ve almost changed my mind a couple of times.

  • […] though is since I was free to vote my conscience as I don’t live in a battle ground state it was anything but wasted.  For those who really aren’t aware of what the margin of cheat is here in Washington State, […]

  • And in those cases, I can understand why you might want to hold off voting until the bitter end. But we had no such situations this time around. In fact, TN local voting is largely off-cycle from national elections, which, in my opinion, is better, since it gives you more time to focus on each one.

  • Linoge, what is the original source of the image you used? I would like to use it in a presentation I’m doing next week, but I need to cite it properly.

  • Bugger. And here I thought I linked the image to the source – fixing that momentarily. Anywise, here you go: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150937680009364&set=a.175035499363.104403.165297924363&type=1