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Third-Party Presidential Candidates Face Friday Deadline in Virginia

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When voters head to the polls this November, they’ll be facing more choices for president than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Who else will be on the ballot, and what kind of influence might that have on the election?

Supporters of third-party candidates have until Friday afternoon to submit thousands of signatures to get on the ballot in Virginia — at least two hundred in every congressional district. That includes Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. It may also include the newest addition to the presidential race, independent Republican Evan McMullin. He’s the former CIA official and staffer who may shake up the presidential race. Stephen Farnsworth is a professor at the Universe of Mary Washington. 

“The additional choice of another Republican on the ballot if that occurs I think will help Barbara Comstock and any other vulnerable Republican who emerges in the coming weeks."

Robert Denton at Virginia Tech says a more mainstream Republican like McMullin might attract voters who are turned off by Trump’s rhetoric and behavior on the campaign trail.

“Who knows? Perhaps if the Libertarian and the Green Party and other third party candidates, if they can get even close to collecting 10 percent of the vote that could be critical in several swing states."

His influence might even extend to non-swing states. In Utah, for example, McMullin might be able to use his Mormon background to deny Trump victory in a state he needs to win.

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