In the mid 1970s, the state of Nevada adopted a unique addition to its ballots which is under attack in the 2012 election cycle. Lawsuits have been filed by the GOP to remove this option on the ballot. I may be incorrect on the exact statute number as it has been revised, but within Chapter 293 “Ballots for statewide offices or President and Vice President must permit voter to register opposition to all candidates.” In other words, in an election a voter might have the choice of marking the ballot for A) candidate “John Smith” B) candidate “Jane Smith” or C) “None of these candidates.” There is a safety net in place to prevent unnecessary expenditures for additional elections. Even if “None of these candidates” receives a clear majority of votes cast, the individual candidate with the highest vote total wins the election in this simplistic example.
Why “None of these candidates” instead of submitting a blank ballot or simply not voting? It is thought that the “None of these candidates” demonstrates dissatisfaction with the candidates in the race. Blank ballots or low voter turnout may have been the result of voter apathy.
In general elections, to my knowledge “None of these candidates” has never been the victor. The phrase, however, has won the majority of votes in Party Primary Elections. The issue, however, in the push to remove this option is that by allowing a choice of “None of these candidates” the Republican Party loses potential votes in the state of Nevada. The most cited election used to justify that position is the race for US Senate in 1998 where the incumbent Democrat Harry Reid with 208,650 votes defeated his Republican challenger John Ensign with 208,222 votes. The margin of victory was 428 votes. The GOP position in removing the choice from the ballot cites that the 3rd place finisher “None of these candidates” received 8,125 votes. Obviously that number was more than enough votes to push Ensign to victory if those votes had been cast for him. In addition to the variable of “IF,” an unmentioned factor should be included considering the stripping of Republican votes argument. In the 1998 election, the 8,125 votes earned “None of these candidates” third place, but only by a slim margin of 81 votes over the Libertarian candidate Michael Cloud who received 8,044 votes. Then you had Michael Williams representing the Natural Law Party receiving 2,749 votes to finish last.
I admit that I have no familiarity of either the fund raising ability or alliances with Super PACs or 501(c) groups by “None of these candidates.” Since the phrase is ineligible to actually hold office under the provisions of the US Constitution and the Statutes of the State of Nevada, I doubt that many special interests pour excessive funds into the phrase’s coffers.
Still, with these glaring limitations, “None of these candidates” has become such a threat that the attempt to eliminate the phrase has already been heard by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. To my knowledge “None of these candidates” has not taken a stance on emotional issues such as Pro Life or Pro Choice. I have heard no positions on taxation, the deficit, domestic, or foreign policy. I don’t know if “None of these candidates” has run a marathon, created jobs, or had friends working at an automobile factory. I don’t even know if “None of these candidates” cares about Health Care, let alone any of the phrase’s positions on “Obama Care.”
I do know that unlike the other candidates “None of these candidates” does not have a birth certificate. The phrase has not filed any tax returns, and has not made any statements regarding plans to release or not to release these unfiled returns. The phrase may or may not be sympathetic to China; may or may not support Israel; may or may not be in secret cahoots with terrorists; and may or may not believe that Americans are suckers. Still, I’m happy that the GOP is taking “None of these candidates” to court to prevent whatever diabolical initiatives that “None of these candidates” might have for Americans like me and like you. The US may have defeated NAZI Germany and Japan, saw the Cold War end with the crumbling of the USSR, seen the capture of international figures such as Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and Muammar Gaddafi, yet as we often hear the US will not survive four more years of the current presidential administration. At first, I thought the threat to which they referred was President Obama. Today, I realize the greater threat. How can we risk allowing the phrase “None of these candidates” to continue its push toward Socialism or Fascism, maybe Communism, the return to the Mesolithic Period, a push into the future, or taxing the air we breathe?
I just never realized the danger of a phrase terrorist such as “None of these candidates” and the money and effort needed to protect the American way. Did any of you?