Did you hear that four Libertarian candidates won in three Indiana townships this election? Unless you live in Liberty, Clay or Franklin in Indiana, the news probably slipped under your radar. If you live outside of Vermont, you probably hadn’t heard that 13 independent and Vermont Progressive Party candidates were elected.
The success of third-party and independent candidates on the local and state level often goes unreported. These candidates quietly assume office without much news coverage.
Luckily, Richard Winger has his ear to the ground when it comes news about third parties on the local, state and national level. His blog, Ballot Access News, reports on a wide variety of issues, ranging from stories about minor party candidates to changes in election law and advances in voting reforms across the country.
According to Winger, five Libertarian candidates across the country won on the local level while ballots are still being counted for a Supervisor race in Riverside County, where a Libertarian is currently ahead. Independent candidates also found success on a statewide level as 13 independents were elected to state legislatures across the country.
During this election cycle the spotlight mainly focused on polarized races at the top of the ticket. This narrow focus left little room for stories about independent and third-party candidates competing for down-ballot seats. However, these local and statewide positions are becoming increasingly important. Voting reforms, such as ranked choice voting, that aim to make elections fairer and more representative, are starting to get traction on a state and local level.
As noted in our blog last week, voters are hungry for minor-party options, but had a hard year when the partisan fervor is so high over which major party should run the country. While this may not be immediately obvious when looking at the overall election results, a deeper dive into state and local politics shows that the challenge to the two-party system is only just beginning.