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Don’t want to vote for Clinton or Trump? In Arizona, you have options

Libertarian Party Gary Johnson (left) and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are shown. (AP Photos)

PHOENIX — With just two weeks to go until Election Day 2016, most voters have likely made up their minds on who they’re supporting, but may not love the options.

Few campaigns in recent memory have been marred by such vitriol and controversy than that taking place between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Allegations surrounding deleted emails and sexually aggressive comments toward women have some voters looking for other candidates. And in Arizona, those voters have options.

“We do understand that this is the person’s ballot, this is their vote and sometimes they want to make a point that they don’t like any other candidate,” Elizabeth Bartholomew with the Maricopa County Elections Department said.

Basically, in Arizona, those who do not like either major party candidate have two options: Vote for a third-party candidate or cast a write-in vote.

To make your options simpler, I went a little deeper into both options. But, as always, I encourage you to do your own research and dig into which option is best for you.

Voting third-party

If you can’t stomach voting for either Trump or Clinton for president, but still want to stick to someone whose name is actually on the ballot, you have two third-party options in Arizona.

Both Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein will appear on ballots across the state.

Johnson has consistently polled higher in the race in Arizona than Stein and both are running on the idea of disrupting the two-party political system.

However, Johnson’s campaign has been marked by a few errors. Arguably, his most famous gaffe came in early September, when he was asked what his plan was for Aleppo — a war-torn and refugee-filled city in Syria. “What is Aleppo?” Johnson responded. He later answered the question after being reminded of the city.

For her part, Stein has had several run-ins with the law, but all were tied to protest acts.

This is both Johnson’s and Stein’s second time running for the presidency. They also ran in 2012.

Write-in candidates

The idea of a write-in candidate sounds promising to a lot of people, but there’s an issue: Voters can’t simply write in anybody they want.

“Even if 50 percent of the people in Maricopa County vote for Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse will not win for president in Maricopa County,” Bartholomew said.

So what gives? Isn’t a write-in candidate precisely that — a candidate a voter wishes to support despite being absent on the ballot?

Not exactly, at least not in Arizona.

“We do see this a lot that they might write in somebody else but it’s not going to count,” Bartholomew said. “The only ones that will count are those candidates that are an official write-in candidate.”

Bartholomew said the state has approved write-in candidates for U.S. senator, U.S. representative, sheriff and a few legislative districts, in addition to the presidential slot.

Maricopa County has 16 presidential candidates who are write-in eligible.

KTAR’s Corbin Carson contributed to this report.

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