One Week Away: A Few Thoughts For Christians On Election 2016

“In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.

No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.”

These stanzas of the hymn, “In Christ Alone,” have run through my mind countless times this election season. The words not only bring me to tears, but continue to comfort me and give me hope despite constant feelings of confusion, uncertainty, and indecision.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve most likely agonized over casting your vote for the presidency this election cycle. You’ve read countless articles and have heard every argument under the sun and then some for and against every candidate, even ones you didn’t know were running. You’ve talked with your neighbors, parents, children, coworkers, and friends, one day entirely confident in your choice of candidate, the next altogether questioning your reasoning just hours before.

Maybe you’ve considered not voting at all as to not put your name behind any one person, letting “the rest of the country” make the decision for you.

Maybe you have forgone posting articles, statuses, tweets, or pictures in favor of one candidate in hopes the choice would become clearer as we approached Election Day.

But the choice hasn’t become clear – at least not to me. I often feel guilty that I don’t know who I’m voting for. I’ve done my research. I’ve listened intently to all sides. I’ve written articles. I’ve worked campaigns. I’ve talked with candidates. And 7 days before the election, I still sit here unsure, uneasy.

Friends and neighbors, I hear you. I personally understand and feel the tension you feel. Even as someone who works in the world of politics, I too am indecisive, to say the least.

I’m not telling you I have the solution.

And I much as I wish I could, I cannot tell you how to vote. I cannot tell you what to think. And as a fellow believer, I especially cannot tell you that whatever choice you end up making is the correct or incorrect “Christian” choice.

Several people have asked me for advice on how to vote. I could not imagine a person more under-qualified to answer, but in turn, I have sought advice from people who I think are, and below a few things to consider, especially if you are a voter in Florida. While the only thing that can give you true peace is Jesus Christ and what he did for you on the cross, I hope these questions and answers help you think through how to live out your Christian faith in the polls this week.

What about Evan McMullin?

According to the McMullin campaign, Evan has been blocked from being on the ballot in Florida as well as not approved to be a write-in candidate for the state, either. As a result, Evan is not on the ballot and any write-ins for him will not be legally tallied or counted.

However, McMullin is on the ballot or a registered write-in candidate in a total of 34 states. The residents of those states will have the option of casting their vote for Evan this cycle.

As of now, it is unlikely that his candidate status in Florida will change before November 8th.

Therefore, voters in Florida essentially have four options:

Vote for one of the two major candidates on the ballot.

This is an option that doesn’t necessitate much elaboration. Choosing between either Trump or Clinton is the decision of most voters this cycle.

The question you need to answer for yourself, though, is this: “Who do you believe is worse for the long-term success of Conservatism?” Once you answer this question, choose the opposite candidate, if you decide to go this route. 

Realize that we are in a swing state without a good protest option. But if you choose to vote for either Clinton or Trump, prayerfully consider your choice.

Register a protest vote by voting for one of the other four candidates on the ballot.

Your other four options, aside from Trump and Clinton, are Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Darrell Castle, and “Rocky” Roque De La Fuente.

Out of these options, Darrell Castle is the most pro-life, pro-constitution candidate. You can find his platform here. If you choose to register a protest vote, this is an option to consider.

Although a choice for any of the above candidates signals a protest vote by not voting for a major candidate, keep in mind these candidates each represent a select platform, one that you are more or less acknowledging and standing by when choosing him or her.

Write in one of the six registered “write-in” candidates.

In Florida, unfortunately, write-in votes for any other candidates than the “qualified write-in candidates” won’t be tallied.

This year, there are only six candidates qualified to have their names written in. Those include: Andrew Basiago, Richard Duncan, Cherunda Fox, Zoltan Istvan Gyurko, Laurence Kotlikoff and Anthony Joseph Valdivia.

Abstain from voting at the presidential level.

While this is not ideal, in some ways abstaining is making your voice heard. If you feel that you cannot possibly choose any of the options above, this is something to consider.

But I would urge you to not use this option as a way to get out of making the difficult decision of choosing someone to vote for. Countless men and women have given their lives to protect your right to vote. While it is a privilege, it’s also your responsibility to make your voice heard.

Yes, your voice does matter.

If you are in a position where your vote for president alters the way your friends and family will think of you, here are a few practical things to consider:

Do what your conscience tells you, be quiet about who you voted for, if you so choose, and in a similar way, don’t loudly champion who you voted for.

Remember that there’s a difference between pulling lever and voting for someone and promoting and defending them for that which is indefensible.

Your vote is exactly that. Your vote. Now, this is coming from someone who struggles with not wanting to be defined by what people think of me. Standing by your choice isn’t easy, and I won’t pretend it will be.

But if you have truly prayed through this decision and ultimately submitted your decision to Christ, no one can argue with your convictions.

After praying and considering the options above, I encourage you to walk into the voting booth this week and confidently cast your vote remembering this:  

“And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.”

Be at peace, fellow sojourner, and know that you are not alone in this journey.