Voters head to the polls Tuesday

It is one of the most frightening times of the year. No, not Halloween. We are six days away from fulfilling our civic responsibility by selecting a president, decoding propositions, narrowing fields of congressional contestants and marking selections for local offices. It’s called Election Day.

The presidential ballot alone contains 11 candidates, including the two frontrunners of incumbent Democrat President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

The nine remaining candidates are virtual unknowns to most people, yet hold a loyal following that will offer support among individuals dedicated to their specific causes.

Alternative party candidates are nothing new. The difference is, this time they could sway an outcome by collecting sufficient protest votes.

Multiple surveys have revealed a discontent and distrust among Americans with the federal government. Regular voters often say they are not sure if party loyalty pays off or is a problem.

According to Public Policy Polling, independents are fed up with both major parties, and 50 percent contend that Republicans have gone too far to the right while Democrats lean too far to the left.

“Ideological unhappiness is not exclusive to independents,” the PPP survey said. Pollsters also found that 20 percent of Democrats think that their party is too liberal and 20 percent of Republicans think that their party is too conservative.

The question then becomes not only one of can major parties sway Independents. We must ask if that 40 percent of Democrats and Republicans will remain dedicated to how they registered. Will they cross major party lines to cast votes or complete protest ballots to favor Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Justice, Prohibition, Socialist Liberation, Socialist Equality, Socialist Workers or We the People Party candidates?

For any political organization to succeed winning public favor it simply must stand for something appealing that sets it apart from the expected.

For any candidates to succeed, they only need more ballots cast for them than their challengers.

We remember the election of 2000, and debate among ourselves if the Obama and Romney race will be a repeat of George W. Bush’s and Al Gore’s battle for the presidency.

We remember that Bill Clinton won a three-way contest with only 43 percent of the popular vote while running against incumbent President George H.W. Bush and independent candidate Ross Perot in 1992.

It is doubtful that the election of 2012 will offer a landslide either direction. It is certain that every vote will matter – at least to the candidates involved.

Are you scared yet?