Why don’t we talk, instead, of “time wasted reading this column.” That’s five minutes of my life (and the hours I’ve spent stewing over it) that I’ll never get back.

Robert Houk wrote a column, published in last Sunday’s press, titled, “Wasted votes could have closed gap in tight race.” First of all, I take serious issue with the term “wasted votes.” The only wasted vote is the vote not cast – I don’t care if you vote for Mickey Mouse, the fact that you showed up to vote and voted your conscience is enough for me to consider it a vote well cast.

Houk was writing specifically in reference to the First Congressional race, in which David Davis won by 521 votes. Houk seems to think that if all those people who voted for less-well-known candidates had voted for someone who actually had a chance of winning, that maybe his buddy Venable could have won the election (remember, the Press endorsed Venable and, I’m sure, are none-too-happy with his defeat).

This is the argument that leaves us stuck with the two-party system. Why can’t a lesser-known third-party candidate win an election in most instances? Because people believe this ridiculous idea that you shouldn’t “waste your vote” on someone who doesn’t have a chance of winning. Absurd! If everyone who actually supported a “lesser known” candidate voted for that candidate, he or she might actually have a chance of winning!

I faced this same dilemma during the last presidential election. The candidate that most fit with my political beliefs was Constitution Party candidate, Mike Peroutka, but I was afraid of “wasting my vote” and giving Kerry the edge over Bush. I can remember standing in that booth moving my finger back and forth from Bush to Peroutka…Bush to Peroutka…Bush to Peroutka. Do I vote my conscience, or do I vote for the guy that I think has a better chance of winning over the real enemy? I won’t tell you what my decision was that day, but I will advise you to ALWAYS vote your conscience…even if your guy doesn’t have a chance in the world of winning the race. Not only will you sleep better at night, but you might actually be able to help one day move us above a two-party system.

Don’t listen to boobs like Houk…you vote for who you believe best represents you, not who you think has the better chance of winning.