Abstract and Keywords
Third-party candidates have long been a feature of presidential elections in the United States, despite formidable institutional, political, and cultural constraints on minor parties. This article describes and explains regional differences in third-party voting in recent presidential elections. The barriers imposed on minor parties in the United States are well known. Most prominent among these is the single-member district plurality system, which characterizes most elections in the United States. Voters who cast votes for candidates outside the two-party system risk incurring the “wasted vote” phenomenon, by which votes cast for minor party candidates may advantage major party candidates disfavored by those voters.
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