'None of the Above' UK and internationally
'None of the Above' (NOTA) is available as a choice on the ballot paper in some electoral systems around the world. It provides the voter with the option to indicate her/his disapproval with all of the candidates in an election.
Like the Blank vote, 'None of the Above' is based on the important democratic principle that public support for elected candidates is only meaningful if people also had the option to show that they did not support any of the candidates.
In the US June 2014, Nevada Democrats picked 'None of these Candidates' for governor nominations. www.washingtonpost.com
'Eric Herzik, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, said he was shocked when the early returns suggested that the choice would outperform all of the actual candidates. … For many Democratic voters who knew something of the candidates, the reasoning appeared to be that none of them were worthy of support, he said.'
''It is absolutely a slap in the face,' Herzik said. 'Regardless of why it happened, this adds insult to injury.'' www.reviewjournal.com
In India, the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that None Of The Above, or Nota should be a choice on the ballot. Comments from Indian voters, quoted by the BBC include:
'a strong Nota showing in any seat would be 'a slap in the face for politicians, a huge moral victory for voters'.'
''Maybe eventually they will realise that we need better candidates''
'For Nota to have teeth, legislation would be needed to force a re-election where there was a strong Nota
showing - something political parties are likely to oppose.'
www.bbc.co.uk and www.thenewconstructs.com
In Ukraine ballots include 'Against all'. Russia had that option on ballots until it was removed in 2006.
NOTA in the UK
We believe that a 'None of the Above' (NOTA) option should be provided on ballot papers in the UK. It makes the protest option clear. It's not good democracy to imply that people only have a choice between supporting a candidate or not being counted.
There is a petition at 38 Degrees to include 'None of the Above' on UK election ballot papers.
However, we believe that the need for a NOTA option must be demonstrated politically. Almost every political change is better understood, better used, and longer-lasting if it is demanded from the bottom, not delivered from the top.
It is convenient for our elected governments to believe that non-voters are simply apathetic. Only when a significant number of people make clear protest votes will the government be forced to acknowledge the democratic case for it.
Protest votes must be clear beyond dispute:
As there is no 'None of the Above' box on the ballot in this UK election: write NONE across your ballot paper, and put a single line through all the boxes.
To avoid your vote being easily dismissed as 'uncertain' or 'spoilt', do not put a cross anywhere, and don't write anything more. (see 'Protest Votes Count')
Protest votes will count when the number increases significantly to make them newsworthy. So challenge every non-voter to do something in this election.
Voting NONE is a democratic rejection of all the candidates that is clear even when 'None of the Above' is not on the ballot paper. See 'Why Vote NONE?'