Although Republicans and Democrats are the more traditional parties when one thinks of an election, it is important to acknowledge those who do not vote within the two-party system. According to Newsnationow, a survey taken in 2023 said that 41% of voters identify as independent. This largely surpasses the number of voters identifying as Republican, which is 28%, and the number of voters who identify as Democrat which is also 28%.
These voters often identify with values from both parties and vote based on the candidates of that year or the issues being presented.
Brandon Petrie, a sophomore studying engineering technology and management, said being an independent has allowed him to get along with a wide variety of people as he often identifies with values from both traditional parties.
Petrie said in high school, he saw a lot of kids in his grade start to think differently on certain issues than their parents, as social media allowed them to create their own views of the world.
“I feel like there’s a decent amount of kids at my school that were independent, with technological devices allowing everyone to be able to create their own opinion instead of going off of what their parents say,” Petrie said.
He said he usually votes on issues based on what he thinks will be best for the interest of the country rather than his personal opinion, although these two often align.
“I plan on just going with what I believe would be best for the future of Ohio as a whole and not just my personal beliefs,” Petrie said. “Although my beliefs line up with what I’m going to vote for anyways, I normally vote for what I think would be best for everyone and not just me.”
Javier Garcia, a freshman studying computer science, said being an independent has allowed him to see different sides of issues rather than being stuck in one party’s ideology.
“I’ve really always been independent but I slightly side toward the Republicans a little bit,” Garcia said. “I’m not necessarily one side or the other because I just like to analyze everything and instead of being like, ‘I’m a Republican’ and siding always Republican without knowing anything about it–or barely knowing anything about it–I like to know everything and that’s how I’ve always been. I just like to look at both sides rather than just one.”
Celeste Magoolaghan, a sophomore studying psychology, said she usually feels different from everyone else because most people around her often identify as either a Republican or a Democrat.
She said when thinking about voting for general elections she often had to side with Democrats or Republicans and had to choose the one she disliked less depending on that election.
“It’s kind of blurry and you’re kind of singled out especially when it comes to who you’re going to vote for,” Magoolaghan said. “There’s rarely a good option with who to vote for because if you do decide to vote for an independent party, they’re most likely not going to win. It’s like you kind of have to decide who’s the lesser evil between the Democrats and Republicans.”