The more candidates the better |

The more candidates the better

Nevada Appeal editorial board

The more the merrier, we say. Ralph Nader’s presence on the presidential ballot in Nevada will cost votes for John Kerry, according to Democrats who tried hard to keep the state Nader-free. They also say Nader’s signature-gathering campaign was funded by a Republican supporter, although the Nader people deny it.

So what.

The lock Democrats and Republicans have on most ballot positions in this country is not a particularly healthy situation for democracy. There are far more than two points of view in this country, and the two major parties have done little in this campaign to inspire independent-minded voters.

Nevada is among the closest of the states that could swing either way on Nov. 2. The 2 percent of votes Nader may pull could decide the election – if one assumes those voters go heavily one way or another.

In 2000, the concerns were much the same between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Nader received 15,008 votes in Nevada – and Gore lost here by 21,597.

Keep in mind, too, there were four other presidential candidates on the ballot in 2000, as well as the Nevada option to vote for “none of the above,” which was the decision of 3,315 people.

Frankly, it’s insulting to say a vote for Nader or some other minor candidate is “wasted” or would otherwise have fallen into someone else’s tally. We give the voters of Nevada more credit than that.

A little perspective here: Democrats and Republicans are fretting over 20,000 or so votes going to other candidates. Meanwhile, there are more than 700,000 eligible residents of Nevada who are not registered to vote at all – approximately 42 percent of the total.

There are many reasons people don’t vote, and the two major parties work hard to get people registered. Nevertheless, we have to believe more choices would mean more voters.

And a merrier election day.