'None of the Above'
internationally and in the UK

Jump to UK.

'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.

How to vote 'None of the Above' in the UK

A 'None of the Above' (NOTA) option is not provided on ballot papers in the UK.  Yet it's not good democracy for voters only to be able to say 'Yes' to the candidates on offer, and unable to say 'No'.

As always, there is a petition to include 'None of the Above' on UK election ballot papers.

But first, voters need to demonstrate the need for the None of the Above option.

It's convenient for our elected govern­ments to argue that non-voters are simply apathetic.  It avoids the real questions of why.

Plus, every political change is better understood, better used, and longer-lasting if it is demanded from the bottom, not delivered from the top.

Only when voters deliver signif­icant numbers of protest votes, will a UK govern­ment be forced to acknowledge the demo­cratic case for NOTA.

So how can you vote 'None of the Above' in the UK now, and make the democratic case for NOTA on the ballot?

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 make it indefensible for the Electoral Commission to dismiss your vote as 'voter intention uncertain' or 'spoilt', do not put a cross anywhere, and don't write anything more.  (See 'Making Protest Votes Count')

Protest votes will count when the number increases significantly to make them newsworthy.

So challenge every non-voter to take part in this election.  There is no reason to be silent.

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?'

If you want a better democracy and politics in the UK, vote for a candidate you trust and want to represent you, or vote NONE in protest.