TO THE EDITOR:
If students are wondering whether they should vote for Al Gore or Ralph Nader, they need to realize that in North Carolina, you cannot vote for Ralph Nader in this election. He is not on the ballot and is not a qualified write-in candidate. Votes for Nader will not be counted this election season.
If you choose to vote for a third-party candidate, you should not worry about what it will do to the general election. Yes, in many states voting for Nader might help Bush (a fact the GOP obviously agrees with because they are running pro-Nader ads in many close states), but that should not necessarily factor into your decision. If you are voting for Nader (or any other third-party candidate), do so for the right reasons, because you want to. Know that it might hand the election to someone else, but if you are indifferent as to the main candidates and don't care who wins, go ahead and vote for the third-party candidate of your choice and send a message to the main parties.
If votes for Nader do shift the election to Bush, that might not be a bad thing. If you believe that the Democratic Party has abandoned its liberal base, maybe losing an election will be just the thing to send them a message. If you hold your nose and vote for the main party, rather than the third-party your heart desires, you are doing nothing to reform the system or let your traditional party know how you truly feel.
If you support one of the main candidates, vote for them. If you support a third party, vote for it - the main parties need to see that not everyone is happy with the way they operate.
Just remember, in North Carolina, a vote for Nader is not going to count either way.