Should “None of These Candidates” Be A Voting Option?

In 1976 as a response to the Watergate scandal Nevada implemented a process allowing voters to cast a vote for “none of these candidates” in every statewide election for federal or state offices. The protest vote which is not binding has been the top vote getter in four primary elections. In instances where “none of these candidates” has won, the second place candidate still wins.

Some are of the opinion that a non binding protest vote is a waste of time, others believe that it is important to encourage disgruntled people to still participate in the voting process. This year state lawmakers in Connecticut, Iowa and Massachusetts, have considered providing a “none of these candidates” option to voters, but the bills have died in committee. In the past five years other states including Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington have considered but rejected adopting similar measures.

Legislation to make “none of these candidates” a binding vote was introduced in Massachusetts, but has not passed. Various versions of “none of these candidates” are used in Australia, Columbia, Greece, Spain and the Ukraine.

What do you think about offering voters a “none of these candidates” option?

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Andrew Krzmarzick

I’m not sure how productive this practice is…allows voters to vent, but it doesn’t accomplish much in the end, eh?

John Westra

It’s called a “Write In” candidate. I have regularly written in the names of candidates who weren’t on the ballot, who I felt possessed the right character, experience and drive required to get the job done!

James E. Evans, MISM, CSM

I don’t see the value here. Unless their physical presence is used to satisfy some sort of head count (e.g., polling place attendants, census etc). Otherwise it’s DOA (Dead On Arrival). Just my thoughts

Ed Albetski

Having candidates no one wants to vote for shows more a problem with the nominating process than the candidates themselves. It has been the battle of the fundraisers for a long time now. Perhaps voters need to sum up the gumption to vote for someone not affiliated with either of the major parties. I think that would send a bigger message. Until voters lose the notion that not voting for a democrat or a republican is “throwing away your vote”, we will remain their captives.

Allison Primack

According to a small poll on GovLoop’s Facebook, 7 people voted to have the “none of these candidates” option, while only 2 opposed it.

Do you think having this option would increase the number of people who go to polls?

William D Jackson Sr.

I think this is an awesome idea. At least it would show the Republican or Democratic or the “running unopposed” just how many folks don’t care for any of them. Wonder what would happen if there were more votes for “None of the Above” that there was for the winner of the election?