FAQ: Fusion Voting in South Carolina

Is fusion voting a new idea?
No. Fusion voting was once universally legal, and was largely responsible for the success of the various third parties that fought for abolition, women’s suffrage, and the interests of family farmers in the 19th century.

Would fusion lead to more people voting for third parties?
Even with fusion, most voters will continue voting for the same parties they do now. In fact, the major parties often find that fusion is a good way to reach out to new voters. But for voters who already vote for third parties, or who stay home on election day, ballot freedom will give them the real voice in state politics that they currently lack. For others, a vote on a third-party line will let them send a clearer message about the issues they care about.

Where is fusion used today?
Fusion is still legal in Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, and Vermont.
Fusion tickets are most commonly used in New York and Connecticut.

Would this result in lots of new parties cluttering the ballot and confusing voters?
No. States with fusion generally have three or fewer recognized third parties. Many states without fusion
have far more.

What if a party gives its endorsement to someone who doesn’t want it?
Candidates are free to accept or reject nomination.

Would independent parties be forced to endorse major-party candidates?
Not at all. Fusion is also called ballot freedom because it’s about more options, not less. Alternative parties will be free to choose whether they want to cross-endorse another party’s candidate, run their own, or stay out of a race altogether.

How does fusion affect primary elections?
It only affects general elections. The rules for primaries do not change.

Why would someone vote for the same candidate on a third party
line instead of the major party?
Some people might like a particular candidate but not want to support his or her party. Some might want to show support for the party that they feel represents them. Some might use the third
party endorsement as a “seal of approval,” showing which candidates share their values. And some might want to send a message on a particular issue. Whatever the reasons, in states with fusion,
many voters do vote on minor party lines.