Endorse THE N.O.T.A. OPTION
"None of The Above"
On All Voting Ballets
Power to the People.
Statement of Principle: All legitimate consent requires the ability to withhold consent; "None of the Above" gives the voter the ballot option to withhold consent from an election to office, just as voters can cast a "No" vote on a ballot question. In Canada we have options of returning a ballot, or spoiling it and though the numbers of spoiled ballots are counted there is no recourse to the lack of support of our elected prime ministers, Mayors and Premiers.
If "None of the Above; For a New Election" receives the most votes, no candidate is elected to that office and a follow-up by-election, with new candidates, is held. Follow-up by-elections are far less costly than electing unacceptable candidates to office.
"N.O.T.A." Would end the "must hire" elections where voters are often forced to vote for the least unacceptable candidate, the all too familiar "lesser evil." The meaning of elections should become more clear, since voters would no longer be tempted to vote for a presumed losing candidate, with whom they really do not agree, as a protest vote.
N.O.T.A. should reduce negative campaigning by encouraging candidates to campaign for their own candidacy rather than against their opponent's candidacy. Additionally this will mean a return to issue based politics, with a strong power in place to punish those who do not fulfill election promises. Many voters and non voters, who now register their disapproval of all candidates for an office by not voting, could cast a meaningful vote.
Campaign contributors who give to all candidates to insure "access" would no longer be sure they backed the winner; in general, buying elections should become a more uncertain enterprise.
Office holders, knowing they face "N.O.T.A." in the next election, would be encouraged to insure their re-election by focusing more on doing a good job in office and less on attempting to prevent the emergence of an effective opposition candidate or gaining contributions from those who have a vested interest in controlling the political system.
When pre-election polls include "N.O.T.A.", the feedback from voters should help guide candidates and parties. Even when "N.O.T.A." does not win or is a non-binding N.O.T.A. the reported NOTA vote would help identify those offices for which voters might be more receptive to new candidates in a future election as well as limits the winner's mandate.
Lastly, opportunities for election fraud should be reduced because fewer blank votes for an office would be cast.
Rock The Vote is dedicated to enacting Voter Consent laws.
Text reiterating statement from www.nota.org
"None of the Above" on the ballot has many thoughtful advocates, including The Wall Street Journal and Ralph Nader.
NOTA legislation has been introduced in Wyoming (1991), Colorado (1993), Michigan (1995), Ohio (1996), Pennsylvania (1996), and Arizona (1997), but has not come near passing anywhere yet. Nevada has had a non binding N.O.T.A. for state wide offices since 1976.
In a plebiscite in December 1998 in Puerto Rico, voters chose "None of the Above" from a list proposed future status options, reject all options including independence and statehood request.
Mr. David "None of the Above" Gatchell is attempting to put his name on the ballot as a candidate, promising to resign, if elected, once a by-election is held to replace him.