“A multi-party system is normal,” says Richard Winger, publisher and editor of Ballot Access News. “You only have a two party system if there’s repression. It’s not natural.”
With both major parties offering up two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in modern history, many voters (and the media) are paying more attention to third party options such as Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Green Party nominee Jill Stein.
But while independent candidates are gaining in popularity, getting them on the ballot to vote for them can be a long and costly process.
“There’s so many ways in which the United States is near the bottom of democracy,” says Winger, an expert in election law and ballot access. “There’s been unbelievable hostility in the last few months to minor parties.”