News & Politics

Voting Their Calculators

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October 23—Greens for Gore, a group of environmentalists apparently
based in the toss-up state of Oregon, are calling on supporters of Ralph
Nader to come off it and save the day by voting for the Veep.

The ultraclose race between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George
W. Bush has led to charges from Gore loyalists that heavy voting for
Nader will tip the election to Shrub. Now, on their new Web site, Greens for Gore write, “We have decided to put
our support behind the lesser of two GOOD men, because we feel it to be
absolutely essential for the planet and the nation that one of them WINS
this election.”

The alliance backs “strategic voting,” meaning supporters of the Green
presidential candidate would cast ballots for him in states where the
race is a clear win for either Gore or Bush, but vote for Gore in the
swing states of Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Maine.
That way, the Greens hope to avoid handing victory to the conservative
Bush while still garnering 5 percent of the vote, enough to qualify for
federal matching funds in the presidential race.

The Web site doesn’t list any names or affiliations, but includes this
message at the bottom of the homepage: “Note well: We are not the Green
Party USA, nor the Democratic Party, and are not authorized by any
candidate or any candidate’s authorized committee.”

Here’s how Greens for Gore say they propose to carry out strategic
voting: “On election night, we are calling for all of us Green voters
sitting on the fence, wondering whether to vote for Nader or Gore, in
the crucial swing states . . . to go down to their County central
Election Office with their unmarked ballots, radio in hand (Or your
local polling place if it’s not convenient). At 7:30 on election night
determine what is happening in your state or nationally and make your
vote count strategically at the last minute! Be sure and hand it in in
time, as the offices close promptly at 8 PM on the dot.

“If the last minute exit or public opinion polls in your state show
Gore or Bush clearly projected to win, then vote Nader! If it is too
close or undecided at that point, then vote for Al Gore! If a winner in
the Presidential election has already been realistically called by the
exit polls and early returns back east, or conceded, for instance, then
by all means vote for Nader. . . . ”

Meanwhile, Nader—who only gets attention in the big media when he’s
called a “spoiler”—is climbing toward 8 percent in Minnesota polls
and scaring the daylights out of the Democrats. In an effort to
neutralize him, the Dems are calling in heavyweights like Teddy Kennedy,
Paul Wellstone, and Russell Feingold to fight for Gore. This morning’s
Washington Post reports the consumer advocate hinted last weekend at his
own sort of tactical voting. If Gore is 9 points ahead of Bush the day
before the election, the Post quotes Nader as saying, voters “can vote
for the Greens and have it both ways. They can help build a watchdog
party after November 7 by depleting the vote totals from both parties.”

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