While Trump, Clinton dominate presidential talk, Louisiana ballot offers 11 other options
Voters in Louisiana know they can vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump in this year’s presidential race.
Some may even be familiar with the much lesser known Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein or even independent Evan McMullin, who has become a conservative darling among those who oppose Trump.
But do you know Princess Khadijah M. Jacob-Fambro? (She appears on Louisiana ballots as “Princess Jacob” under the “Loyal Trustworthy Compassion” label.)
What about Laurence Kotlikoff, who appears under the “It’s Our Children” label, or Jerry White, who is running under the “Socialism Equality Anti-War” banner?
In all, 13 candidates appear on the presidential ballot in Louisiana this year, but it’s unlikely that most voters know much about any of them beyond the major party tickets.
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A new poll that was released by Southern Media & Opinion Research last week found that Trump has a strong lead in Louisiana – 50 percent to Clinton’s 35 percent, with McMullin pulling 5 percent, “other” at 2 percent and undecided at 8 percent.
But the poll also found that a majority of Louisiana voters are underwhelmed by the two major party candidates: 60 percent of the voters surveyed had an unfavorable opinion of Clinton, while 53 percent had an unfavorable opinion of Trump.
State law mandates how presidential ballots are arranged – alphabetical, by party – so Trump supporters will have to not only skip over Democrat Clinton, but also the Green and Libertarian party candidates before they find the Republican listed. After Trump, voters still unsure can pick from a long list of obscure independents.
To get on the Louisiana presidential ballot as an independent, candidates need only pay $500 and submit the appropriate paperwork, either in person or by mail.
How politically engaged is Louisiana? With just a week left until Election Day, Louisiana has been ranked the 16th most politically engaged state, according to a new analysis from personal finance site WalletHub.
The state also allows for a petition process to avoid the fee, but the Secretary of State’s office confirmed that all of the independents on the ballot went the $500 route.
Already, more than 437,539 early ballots have been cast – shattering early voting tallies for the 2012 and 2008 presidential election cycles. Experts predict the state will remain on track for record or near-record turnout this year when all ballots are counted.
But who are these other candidates and why did they fork over $500 apiece to give Louisiana voters a chance to support their long-shot candidacies?
• Princess Jacob is a San Francisco woman social-media driven campaign. According to her campaign website, her platform is focused on abolishing Child Protective Services (including foster care); legalizing marijuana; instituting reparations for descendants of slaves; and ending police brutality. “It’s going to take a woman to clean up the White House,” is her official slogan. She (and many others on this list) did not respond to attempts to contact her via her website.
Her campaign is also notable because she included in her Federal Elections Commission filing document a note to famous rapper and New Orleans native Dwayne “Lil’ Wayne” Carter, asking him to marry her.
• Laurence Kotlikoff is an economics professor at Boston University. Kotlikoff’s website details 20 points that he says should make him a serious contender for president, including that he’s not a politician and doesn’t carry the baggage that may be associated with the major-party candidates. His economic background, he says on his website, gives him important insight into the nation’s economy and his election “would break the two-party system monopoly on political power and change american politics forever.”
• Darrell Castle is Tennessee native who backs the U.S.’s withdrawal from the United Nations and an end to the Federal Reserve. Running under the Constitution Party, he was the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2008.
• Tom Hoefling, of Iowa, is running under a conservative, heavily anti-abortion rights, anti-gay marriage and pro-Israel platform.
“Just as ‘good fences make for good neighbors,’ good government is mainly about knowing where the legitimate boundaries are, and having the courage to defend those borders forcefully,” he writes on his website.
• Gloria La Riva is a community activist from California who supports socialism. “A socialist system would make the highest priority eliminating institutionalized racism, bigotry and inequalities. Police brutality and mass incarceration would be ended. Citizenship would automatically be granted to all people living in the United States,” La Riva’s campaign website reads.
• Jerry White, of New York, is also an advocate of socialism. “A workers’ state must be based on new forms and structures of participatory democracy — arising in the course of revolutionary mass struggles and representative of the working class majority of the population,” he writes.
Early voting hits record high in Louisiana; Tuesday is last day to cast ballots early More than 366,644 voters have already cast their ballots in Louisiana with a week remaining in the election cycle.
• Alyson Kennedy, who is running under the Socialist Workers Party label, is an Indianapolis native who has worked as a labor union organizer across the country.
• Chris Keniston, a Texas resident, is an Air Force Veteran who previously served as Louisiana State Chair of the Veterans Party of America.
His platform highlights areas of border security, national security and non-interference in global affairs.
“For too long, the United States has been viewed around the world as a bully nation,” his website reads. “It is a disservice to our citizens and our global identity.”
• Jill Stein, a doctor, is a Green Party candidate who was also the party’s nominee in 2012 and ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2010 and 2002. She has drawn some support from former supporters of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.
Her platform focuses on efforts to address climate change, advance labor unions, establish universal health care and push for tuition-free higher education.
• Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico who is now running under the Libertarian banner, he was also the Libertarian Party nominee in 2012.
A former CEO of a medical marijuana company, Johnson’s campaigning on issues that include instituting term limits; overhauling the nation’s tax code to eliminate federal income taxes; and legalizing pot.
• Evan McMullin is a Utah native that has won the backing of Conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck; columnist and Louisiana-native Erick Erickson; and Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol, among others.
A Mormon by faith, McMullin is seen as a potential spoiler in the normally GOP stronghold Utah, his home state, this year. His campaign has focused on calling for support from Republicans who don’t want to back Trump.