TORONTO -- While President Donald Trump and former vice-president Joe Biden are the ruling Republican and Democrat nominees for the 2020 U.S. election, various third-party candidates will also appear on some ballots.

A rapper, a former child actor and an ex-coal executive who served time in prison are among the third-party and independent candidates running for president this year.

While independent and third-party candidates don’t usually appear on enough ballots to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, they do have the potential to impact who wins the election.

In 2016, more than 7.6 million Americans cast their votes for someone other than Republican nominee Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received the most support among third-party hopefuls with nearly 4.5 million votes or 3.3 per cent of the electorate.

Despite their chances of winning being slim, third-party and independent candidates also work to raise awareness about certain issues they are most passionate about in hopes they gain enough support so that one or both of the major parties eventually adopt that cause.

While there are various independent candidates running in single states, looks at some of the main third-party candidates who will be on the ballot in multiple states come Nov. 3.


Jo Jorgensen is a Clemson University psychology lecturer running as the Libertarian candidate. Her running mate is Jeremy ‘Spike’ Cohen.

Jorgensen was nominated to be the Libertarian nominee in May at the party's convention and is the first woman presidential nominee for the party. She was Harry Browne's Libertarian vice-presidential nominee in the 1996 U.S. election and also ran for South Carolina's 4th Congressional District in 1992.

Since she is the highest-profile woman in the presidential race, Jorgensen has borrowed Hillary Clinton's 2016 slogan, "I'm with her."

Jorgensen's platform is against big federal programs, mass incarceration and foreign military operations. She is advocating for a smaller government and blames the two major parties for the soaring national debt and skyrocketing health-care costs.

Jorgensen's running mate, Cohen, is somewhat of an eccentric politician. While running for the party nomination, Cohen said he would give Americans free cheesy bread, legalize recreational plutonium and force all police to wear Barney the dinosaur costumes should their campaign not deliver on their promises in the first 100 days -- if they take office.

The Libertarian Party uses separate votes to nominate its presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

Jorgensen and Cohen will appear on the 2020 General Election ballot in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.


Howie Hawkins is a former Teamster and UPS worker running as the Green Party candidate. His running mate is Angela Nicole Walker.

Hawkins is a Marine Corps veteran who served in the Vietnam War while Walker is also a military veteran and labour activist.

Hawkins clinched the Green Party nomination in June after winning more than 176 delegates in Green Party caucuses and primaries. The long-time environmental activist previously ran for New York governor as a Green in 2010, 2014, and 2018 and was the first candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal during his first run. The Green New Deal is a proposed package of legislation that suggests transforming the U.S. economy to tackle the twin crises of inequality and climate change.

Hawkins is also running as the Socialist Party USA nominee. His platform also includes Medicaid for All and a guaranteed minimum income.

Hawkins and Walker will appear on the 2020 General Election ballot in 30 states and territories, including Washington, D.C. and Guam and will be conducting a write-in campaign in 17 other states. A write-in candidate is a candidate whose name does not appear on the ballot but seeks election by asking voters to physically write the person's name on the ballot.

The campaign is also currently facing legal challenges to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma.


Roque 'Rocky' De La Fuente is the Alliance Party candidate nominee for U.S. president. His running mate is Darcy Richardson.

The 65-year-old businessman has previously run for a number of different offices across the country including U.S. president in 2016, mayor of New York City, the U.S. House in California earlier this year and the U.S. Senate in nine different states.

De La Fuente is also the Reform Party and American Independence Party nominee. His running mate, Darcy Richardson, is an author, historian, and activist.

De La Fuente is calling for voters to reject America's two-party system and supports a single-payer health-care system, comprehensive immigration reform and investments in renewable energy.

De La Fuente and Richardson will appear on the 2020 general election ballot in 15 states and will run a write-in campaign in three others. He is on the ballot in California as the American Independence Party nominee, with Kanye West as his running mate.


Former coal executive Don Blankenship is running for president as the Constitution Party candidate. His running mate is William Mohr.

As the former CEO of the coal company Massey Energy, Blankenship was convicted of conspiracy to violate mine-safety laws over an explosion that killed 29 miners in 2010. He served a one-year prison sentence and maintains that he was wrongfully convicted.

Blankenship previously ran for U.S. Senate in West Virginia in 2018 and supports the majority of conservative issues, including an end to abortion, 2nd Amendment protections and border wall construction.

While his views may appear similar to that of Trump’s, Blankenship is billing himself as a man who can actually achieve what Trump has promised.

Blankenship’s running mate, Mohr, switched his party affiliation from Republican to the Constitution Party in 2005 and has a background in the housing industry.

Blankenship and Mohr will appear on the ballot in 18 states with a write-in campaign in Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.


Rapper Kanye West is running as an independent member of his own party, which he has named the "Birthday Party" in the 2020 U.S. election. His running mate is Wyoming preacher Michelle Tidball.

The 43-year-old launched his presidential campaign in July, which many Trump allies believe may siphon votes away from Biden. However, West, who has been friendly with Trump in the past, insists he’s in the race to win the presidency.

West supports a handful of conservative issues including prayer in classrooms, a strong national defense and an end to abortion rights. But the 21-time Grammy winner is also campaigning for some more liberal issues including police reform and a commitment to renewable energy.

West will be on the ballot in Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont. He has pending applications in Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, and Tennessee, but missed the filing deadline in 25 other states including key battle grounds like Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin.


Brock Pierce is a cryptocurrency entrepreneur running as an independent for U.S. president. His running mate is Karla Ballard while singer and producer Akon recently joined the campaign as a chief strategist.

The 39-year-old Minnesota native is the co-founder of Tether. As a child he starred in Disney movies including "The Mighty Ducks" and "First Kid." Pierce is also a philanthropist who founded the Integro Foundation to help Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria, as well as the Brock Pierce Foundation.

Pierce’s platform includes health care for all, an improved and expanded immigration system, the legalization of marijuana and the elimination of carbon emissions in the U.S. within 20 years.

Pierce is on the ballot in 15 states and Washington, D.C. He is a write-in candidate in Alabama, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, and Rhode Island.


Brian T. Carroll is a retired teacher running as the nominee of the nine-year-old American Solidarity Party, a Christian Democratic organization. His running mate is Amar Patel.

The 70-year-old Californian declared his candidacy in April 2019. His campaign slogan is "#WholeLife," which refers to his commitment to defending life in all instances. Carroll is anti-abortion, anti-death penalty and anti-assisted death, and supports health care for all and climate protection. Carroll believes that a "just economy, a peaceful world, and a healthy environment are all life issues," according to his campaign’s website.

Carroll and Patel will appear on the ballot in eight states -- Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Vermont, and Rhode Island -- and will have a write-in campaign in 21 states. The campaign has submitted paperwork to get on the ballot in five others but was deemed ineligible to run in Nevada, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Hawaii, and Maine.


Long-time San Francisco labour and anti-war activist Gloria La Riva is the Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate for U.S. president. Her running mate is Sunil Freeman.

This is the 66-year-old candidate’s 10th time running for either president or vice-president. La Riva was the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s nominee in 2008 and 2016. She also ran for California governor twice and San Francisco mayor once.

Additionally, La Riva has the presidential nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party. Her campaign focuses on climate change, human rights, ending racism and police brutality, free education and health care, and LGBTQ rights. The campaign is pushing for an end to anti-immigrant laws, mass incarceration, and American military bases around the world.

La Riva and Sunil ticket will appear on the 2020 general election ballot in 15 states with a write-in campaign in 12 others.


Alyson Kennedy is a pro-labour union member who works at a Walmart in Texas and previously worked in coal mines. She is running as the Socialist Workers Party candidate for president. Her running mate is Malcolm Jarrett.

Kennedy ran for U.S. president in 2016 and was the Socialist Workers Party candidate for vice-president in 2008 and for U.S. Senate for Illinois in 2010. She also ran for mayor of Dallas in 2019.

Kennedy is a women's rights activist and a strong pro-choice supporter. Her vice-presidential nominee, Jarrett, is an African-American activist and a cook from Pittsburgh.

Kennedy and Jarrett will appear on the ballot in Colorado and Vermont, with petitions filed in other states.