A rare sight was beheld on Dec. 12. As the country watched with bated breath while the voter counts for 2,220 Alabaman precincts were reported, it was unclear whether Doug Jones, the Democrat, or Roy S. Moore, the Republican, would become the next Senator of Alabama.
The special election results to fill now Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacated seat, as reported on Dec. 13 by the New York Times, was 49.9 percent for Jones and 48.4 percent for Moore.
The estimated margin in percentage points is +1.5; a figure so small that Moore did not concede after Jones was projected to win. Nonetheless, although the margin of points for each candidate was astounding, the most staggering aspect of the election was the number of write-ins.
The total number of write-ins reported by the New York Times amounted to 1.7 percent of the voter, or a total of 22,819 votes.
Despite the number being incomparable to over 1.3 million voters who voted either for Jones or Moore, the figure is unfathomable. Rather than making a choice between the two candidates in an election that would either be close or strongly in the deplorable candidate’s favor, some voters — elected officials, included — opted to take the easy way out.
During the 2016 Presidential Election, voters across the country argued that it was the year to vote for a third party candidate. Others refused to exercise their right to vote and stayed home on Nov. 8, 2016.
The 2016 Presidential Election and the Alabama Senate Election were not elections to be self-serving.
If someone chooses to write-in a candidate because they cannot in good conscience vote for their party’s candidate, but are unwilling to vote against their party, their vote is self-serving. Likewise, their vote is not on behalf of the best interests of the country.
More so, by voting for someone who does not have a sizeable majority — and doing so in an effort to make themselves feel better — they are swinging an election to the benefit of the realistically less favorable candidate.
At the end of the day, regardless of political affiliations, there is one candidate who will exhibit the leadership qualities that our country needs. Luckily, for the Alabama Senate Election, the majority of the voters agreed on the correct option.
More frequently, voters — especially those who are young — try to make a point. They think that voting third party or writing-in a candidate will send a bipartisan message to our leaders that we do not like our options.
People possess the autonomy to write-in a candidate if they wish to prove a point. However, if the point is not successful, then it will not be received.