Contrary to what you may have heard — and I have heard it many, many times over the last few months — the presidential election is not a binary choice.

You have no obligation to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. If you vote for one of the less prominent candidates, or write someone’s name where allowed, or leave the presidential line on your ballot blank, no lightning bolt will fell you and no policeman will knock on your door.

The binarists would have you believe that availing yourself of a non-Clinton, non-Trump option is a kind of escapism, a shirking of your duty to participate in the national choice between the two major candidates. The binarists who are backing Trump say that right-leaning voters who choose Gary Johnson (the Libertarian) or Evan McMullin (an independent conservative) are casting half a vote for Clinton. The binarists behind Clinton make the equivalent argument about left-leaning voters who back Johnson or Jill Stein (who is running for the Green Party) — that such a choice helps Trump.