By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Third-party road is a tough one, but voters should have the option
Placeholder Image

Libertarians are polling higher than ever as interest in the party grows. People should be interested. Libertarian Party activism has saved the taxpayers millions.

Fiscal conservatives appear displeased with their Republican options. Are they realizing their candidates aren't actually fiscally responsible?

In Georgia's case, it appears as if a requirement to hold Georgia's 9th U.S. House seat is to borrow and then default on at least $2 million.

Democrats and Republicans failed to cooperate and deal with the problems leading to the recession or with the recession itself. Our economic problems were not caused by Libertarians, and people are starting to listen to them.

There is much confusion about what a Libertarian is. The short description of Libertarians is that they are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Libertarians understand that people only receive as much freedom as they are willing to give.

At a Libertarian Party meeting, both gun and gay rights activists can meet and work in harmony. The Georgia LP's platform and contact information can be found on its website.

The LP is running a full slate of statewide candidates this election year. Libertarians are polling well over 5 percent higher than normal. This is likely the result of voter discontent with Democrat and Republican options, and interest in Libertarian solutions.

Considering present economic and political scandals, I expected the LP to be polling higher. Because it is difficult to compete against Roy Barnes' campaign budget and Nathan Deal being a Republican, these poll numbers are promising.

I predict Libertarian gubernatorial candidate John Monds will throw the race into a runoff garnering between 4 to 8 percent of the vote. Voters should feel free to vote for their principles on Election Day. If they feel it necessary to vote for the lesser of two evils, they can do that in the runoff.

A few things are needed for a complete Libertarian victory. People must stop believing Republicans are the fiscal conservatives they claim to be. People have to drop the hypnotic spell that voting third party is a wasted vote and realize the two-party system is broken. People vote for Democrats and Republicans without agreeing with them completely.

People must realize its fine to vote Libertarian without agreeing on the whole LP platform as well. Many vote for a party they dislike because of its position on a single lightning-rod issue like abortion. Some sadly support a party simply to oppose another or as the lesser of two evils.

I've found the LP to be, dollar for dollar, the best investment available both for small government and against political corruption. Additionally, everyone who calls themselves a libertarian needs to join the party and vote.

Lastly, ballot access reform is necessary. In Georgia, the Libertarian Party is technically not a political party but a political body. Political bodies can run candidates in statewide elections but not for U.S. House or state legislature, with the exception of special elections. Statewide candidates are chosen at conventions, not primaries. They retain the ability to run statewide candidates as long as one of their candidates receive 1 percent of the vote.

A Libertarian candidate can run for the Georgia Senate or House or U.S. House only if he or she collects the signatures of 5 percent of the district's voters. When this Sisyphean task has been accomplished, the secretary of state inevitably finds grounds to reject the application.

For the Libertarians to be free of these restrictions, one of their gubernatorial or presidential candidates must receive 20 percent of the vote. The party jokes it is easier to get on the ballot in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia than the state of Georgia.

The two major parties have reason to like this system: They maintain their monopoly on power. By allowing the Libertarians to only run statewide candidates, the voters are presented with the illusion of choice while the real political power rests with controlling the Georgia House and Senate.

This year, the Libertarians' hope of attaining 20 percent of the vote rests with Monds. I met Monds in 2008. We both ran for the Public Service Commission as Libertarians. He ran for the District 1 seat and I ran in District 4.

The PSC regulates the privately owned utility monopolies. All rate increases must be approved by the PSC.
We ran because we felt the PSC was rubber-stamping utility requests. We also knew Georgia Power would seek a rate increase to pay for Plant Vogtle's new reactors. Subsidizing the expansion of a monopoly receiving guaranteed profit didn't sit well with us. Private businesses should make expansion decisions on profitability not public subsidization.

At present, Georgia Power is seeking more than $1 billion from the ratepayers for expansion costs and legal fees. At present, it looks like the Republican-controlled PSC will approve what amounts to a $1 billion utility profit tax. I guess Republicans voters don't consider it socialism since it goes to a private business and not the people.

Monds and I fought the good fight and won minor victories. I threw the race into a runoff. Monds, in a two-way race, received a Libertarian Party record of 33 percent of the vote. Most importantly we educated people about the rolls of both the PSC and the Libertarian Party.

I enjoyed my time working with Monds. Now his hands are full carrying the message of the LP throughout Georgia. Who knows, we may see the voters choose the party of principle on Nov. 2 and give the Libertarians the 20 percent they need to break their ballot access chains.

Ballot access and voter choice are necessary for democracy. What a great thing to vote for!

Brandon Givens is a Gainesville resident and a special-education teacher. He was a candidate in the state Senate District 49 special election in May.

Regional events