Is it wrong to vote for a third-party candidate?

The 2020 Presidential Election is coming up in less than two months, and while some Catholics have made their decision about how they will vote, others are still undecided. When a caller asked Patrick Madrid if it was morally acceptable to vote for a third-party candidate, Patrick offered some insightful advice that can be applied to any election with any candidates.

First, look at both candidates and their party platforms through the lens of your conscience and Catholic Faith. Which issues align with your beliefs and which do not? Be sure to look especially at the so-called “non-negotiable” or top moral issues, which include life issues like abortion, euthanasia, and others.

If you find, after carefully examining the issues and Church teaching, that one candidate aligns with your beliefs, then your choice is clear. If you find (in whatever election—presidential, congressional, mayoral, local, etc.) that neither candidate is a clear choice, you have four options, as explained by Patrick:

  1. Vote for the first candidate, who is abhorrent. This is, obviously, not something you would do in good conscience.
  2. Vote for the “lesser of two evils”. While Patrick doesn’t like that phrase, he admits that he can’t think of a better one. “You’re not doing anything immoral if you have an informed conscience,” he says, to vote for a candidate that isn’t ideal but is better than the other candidate.
  3. Vote for a non-viable or third-party candidate. This is an option if you cannot, in good conscience, vote for either major-party candidate in an election. This decision is permissible if you discern and believe that both candidates in an election would do tremendous damage.
  4. Not vote. While this is an option, it is not advisable. It’s our duty as Catholic citizens to participate in our government by voting our conscience.

“If you feel that voting for either one would violate your conscience then you have the freedom to choose a candidate that is not either one of those but has no chance of winning. Well people would say, that’s throwing your vote away. But sometimes these situations become so difficult that you do the best you can,” explained Patrick.

Now’s the time to prepare to vote on November 3, 2020!

“I will vote and I encourage everybody else to vote and to pray and to really think about these issues and study them and form your conscience,” Patrick said. “Do your due diligence and prepare.”

Listen to the full segment for more advice:

Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays at 8-11am CT only on Relevant Radio®.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.