Keith Judd recently earned 41 percent of votes during the West Virginia democratic primaries when polled against President Obama. However, a majority of that 41 percent, when asked why they had voted for Judd, stated that they were simply voting against Obama.
A number of people have decided that they are opposed to voting for President Obama on the Democratic slate. As a result, some may decide to cast a protest vote instead.
"I voted against Obama," Ronnie Brown, a 43-year-old electrician from Cross Lanes who called himself a conservative Democrat, told the Associated Press. "I don't like him. He didn't carry the state before and I'm not going to let him carry it again."
A protest vote, however, is considered the equivalent to a blank vote, which means that voters might as well not vote at all.
During the recent Democratic primaries in West Virginia, 41 percent of voters chose Keith Judd over President Obama. The problem is that Judd is actually in prison with a 17-year sentence for making threats to a university.
Most of those who voted for Judd were unaware of this fact, and stated that they were simply "voting against Obama." Other protest votes in that past have involved voting for fictitious characters as well, including Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. While this practice is not quite the same as casting a third party vote, both at times can be equally as damaging and ineffective.
The American Elect had developed as a non-partisan non profit organization which has developed as an alternative to having to vote for a primary party. The organization has stated that it's purpose is "to nominate a presidential ticket that answers directly to voters- not the political system." While the idea may seem ideal, some have criticized that potential of such a system, suggesting it is the equivalent to throwing away a vote.
Tom D'Amore, a former Connecticut Republican state chairman, said his biggest fear concerning the Americans Elect campaign is that it could have just enough of an effect to deprive both major party candidates of a clear victory, according to CT News.
"The problem is there's no way in hell they'll be able to elect a president," D'Amore told CT News.
"He argues that the present Electoral College system, with 48 of the 50 states having a winner-take-all approach, means a candidate has to take a majority of the popular vote in most states in order to get any electoral votes. For a third-party type, that means it's virtually impossible to get anywhere close to the 270 electoral votes needed to win," the news site reported.
The only president to actually win without ever belonging to a party was George Washington.
Third parties are also not typically allowed to participate in the Presidential debates and have less access to ballots, which means that they may not always appear as an optional candidate in all states.