If Tuesday marked your first time voting in your state, you might be surprised to find some of the presidential candidates listed more than once on the ballot.
In New York, for example, Hillary Clinton is listed under the Democratic Party, but a few spaces down you’ll see her name under the Working Families Party and the Women’s Equality Party. Donald Trump’s name appears twice — under the Republican Party and the Conservative Party of New York State.
If you vote for Clinton or Trump under another party’s name, your vote will still count for that candidate.
The double-listing exists because of an arrangement known as “electoral fusion,” when two or more parties agree to list the same candidate in hopes of pooling the vote.
Fusion voting gives voters a chance to support a major candidate while registering their unhappiness with that candidate’s party. A cross-endorsement from a smaller party like the Women’s Equality Party can also help inform voters about where candidates stand on certain issues.
The practice was widespread in the 19th century, but today electoral fusion is only legal in eight states: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, and Vermont. The only state where fusion voting regularly takes place is New York.
While electoral fusion may cause a moment of confusion in the voting booth, you can rest assured your vote will still count.
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