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Column: Write-in Votes Necessary For True Democratic Elections

This story was written by Maritza Carroway, The Daily Gamecock

South Carolina is working on a new piece of legislature that will, once again, allow citizens to submit a write-in vote for the general presidential elections.

I've always been excited about politics, particularly about my right to vote. I have always enjoyed the idea of participating in the governmental process by choosing my representation and stance on certain laws. Each election season I would pay close attention to the candidates, trying to decide which one would best lead the country. I waited for the day when I would turn 18 so I could finally take action on my opinions and vote. But as I find myself coming close to my first presidential election, I've decided there is no one I'd like to vote for. Obama is definitely not in the same moral ballpark as I am when it comes to personal values. And McCain is someone who, I decided in the last election, I would never vote for.

My frustration is only increased by the fact that South Carolina does not allow write-in votes for the general presidential elections.

People tend to abuse the privilege for the sake of humor (voting for anyone from deceased persons to their favorite cartoon character), but this option is the only thing that keeps presidential elections even remotely fair. Narrowing presidential candidates may help things strategically, but it prevents the voters from choosing who they really feel deserves the position.

There are some who may think these write-ins are pointless because they rarely ever win any type of political race. This leaves many to label these votes as "wasted." This idea defies the very purpose of the people's right to vote. So many times people vote for a candidate they don't feel comfortable with simply because they don't want to waste their vote on someone who "can't" win. It's this very same thinking that often wins an otherwise unlikeable candidate an election. People think he will win, so regardless of how they feel, they vote for him. But the purpose of an election is not to try and get your political party to win; it is to vote for the best candidate.

Denying a voter the ability to write-in a candidate violates the purpose of democracy. It leaves us with only two choices: vote for "that guy," or don't vote at all.