Come on my friend. I'll up out of engineering mode for just a moment and think a little more abstract and try to understand the spirit of what I am saying.
If a person who thinks Romney (for example) is really bad for the country chooses not to vote for Obama because they are pissed off at him and instead votes for a name that has zero chance of winning, they are in effect helping Romney.
Voting for Ronald McDonald is the same as me voting for Ron Paul ( who I support) neither has a snowball's chance in Hell of winning so they are throw away votes no better than simply not voting. I firmly believe with every fiber of my being that Romney will be an unmitigated disaster for the working class of this country; possibly worse than Bush.
Because of this, I feel duty bound to vote for Obama (whom I am not totally happy with) to try to avert that disaster. Not doing so IS a de facto vote for Romney.
Agree to disagree if you like but my mind is made up with regard to this truth. Anyone who also thinks Romney would be horrible mistake (worse than Obama) but then does not vote or votes for a throw away candidate instead of using that vote to put the lesser of 2 evils back in, just made it a little easier for that piece of shit to win.
That's just it; the idea of the vote being thrown away is predicated on the two points. 1, that I think Obama is a less bad presidential candidate than Mitt Romney and 2, Obama doesn't win the election. If I believe 1 is true but still believe Ronald McDonald is better than either and vote for him but 2 happens, then did I still throw away my vote? What if I believe 2 will happen regardless?
This is an equivocation; literally, the only way a vote is "thrown away" is to NOT vote.
Then there are electoral college laws. In MD, for example, each party appoints a number of electors pledged for their parties nominee equal to MD's electoral college (8 reps + 2 senators). These electors are sworn to vote for the candidate elected by the majority of the popular vote in the state. Now, while they are sworn to vote in this manner, votes are also sealed and Constitutionally confidential. To my knowledge, there is no history of voting deviancy. At any rate, MD will allocate its 10 college votes for Obama so for all intents of purposes, I will be voting for Obama.
Thus,it would depend on the perspective but it could be said I have no choice but to waste my vote or I have no choice but to make the best use of my vote.