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Would You Vote for 'None of the Above'?

by Jane Susskind, published
For the increasing number of unaffiliated voters, choosing between a Republican and Democratic candidate may feel like a competition between the lesser of two evils. As political parties drift further away from the electorate, candidates no longer represent their constituents, which may be why 40 percent of Americans do not vote.

There are still people, however, who consider themselves civically engaged, who routinely participate in the democratic process and want to be involved in the political dialogue. For these people, should there be an option to vote for none of the above?

Rep. Charles Weed (D) has introduced legislation in New Hampshire to do just that: allow voters to vote for none of the candidates listed.

"Real choice means people have to be able to withhold their consent," he told the Associated Press. "You can't do that with silly write-ins. Mickey Mouse is not as good as 'none of the above.'"

New Hampshire would not, however, be the first state to offer this option. Nevada has allowed voters to select "none" since 1976, an option that was recently upheld by the Federal Court of Appeals.

"Voters who want to express their dissatisfaction with the federal and statewide candidates on the ballot should have the option and freedom to do it," Secretary of State Ross Miller, Nevada's chief election officer, said of the ruling.

Opponents of the Nevada law argue that because "none" can never win an election, voters who choose this option are disenfranchised because their vote has no legal meaning. The Republican Party argued that the option acts as a spoiler, citing its role in swaying the outcome of elections.

The proposed New Hampshire law would call for a special election in the case that the "none of the above" option won a majority of votes.

Would you consider voting for "none of the above" if the candidates on the ballot did not represent you?

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