Should ballots include a binding "None of the Above" option?

Inspired by this post of Zakalwe’s. One complaint I’ve sometimes heard from Libertarians is, “No matter who you vote for, the government gets elected!” And I’ve heard them suggest a “None of the Above” option in the ballot for every elective public office, and if a majority/plurality vote for “None of the Above,” the office is left vacant for the duration of its next prescribed term. So, some seats in Congress probably would be empty at any given time – leaving the residents of their districts/states without representation in Congress – and states might find themselves having to do without a governor for 4 years every now and then. Anyone think this is a good idea?

Those are not libertarians, those are anarchists. And no, a “None of the above” option is not a good idea. The last thing we need is to encourage a bunch of mouthbreathers to vote for anarchism instead of just sitting the election out.

The difficulty is for some offices somebody has to perform the function of the office. The governor has to run the state. Many functions require a singature of some official. Imagine if there was no one with the legal authority to act in case of disaster.

They had this in Russia for a while, a vote ‘against all’ (protiv vsekh), but they got rid of it. I hardly think this will affect this debate in any way but just thought I’d toss this in for people who are interested in how this would actually work.

No question this is a terrible idea, particularly the part where the office is left vacant.

But I do love the thought of being able to voice my disapproval of all candidates. While growing up in Canada, as far back as I can remember, every election cycle had at least one person use the phrase, “once again I’ll have to hold my nose and vote.” It seemed more often than not, a majority of voters disliked ALL candidates (either at the local level or national level).

This sounds OK.

Oh wait, it’s the worst idea ever.

Well, how about if instead of leaving the office vacant for it’s term a new election is held, but with all of the current candidates disqualified from running again? Actually that still sounds like a terrible idea.

I predict this thread will lead to one of the greatest consensuses ever on the SDMB.

Terrible idea.

Yeah. If there were only two people competing it would be reasonable, but the parties who have the most influence on how the candidates in general are seen (the Republicans and the Democrats) would be the ones hurt the least by being forced to field their second-stringers, simply because they have more people to pick from.

Just what we need – elections every month. I could get behind drafting citizens to fill public office – something along the lines of jury duty or national service

I don’t know how it would turn out, but can’t be worse then what we have now. OK lets give it a go!

I’d prefer a system where in addition to voting for a candidate, you can also vote against one. At the end, add up the votes, subtract the votes against, and person with the highest total takes it. Granted, in a two person race like the US usually has, this wouldn’t actually change anything since a vote against one person is effectively the same as a vote for the other. It may produce some interesting results in primaries which have more than two real candidates, but to really affect anything it’d have to be combined with something to encourage viable third party candidates.

Regardless of that, leaving the office empty is a terrible idea. Redoing the election with the original candidates prohibited is also a terrible idea, also less so than leaving the office empty.

I think redoing the election with the original candidates prohibited is a decent idea.

That pretty much destroys the party nomination process, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But then – how do these new people get on the ballot? Do they have to decide to run, and then go out an raise some money, and gather thousands of signatures to on petitions, etc. If they had to go through all the same hoops that the ‘regular’ candidates do, it would have to be months and months until another election could be held. And then months and months again if nobody got picked the second time…

I don’t see this as practical. Since most of agree that an office shouldn’t just remain vacant indefinitely, that means either the incumbent stays on or the governor appoints someone. That’s hasn’t been working too well lately either. (I’m looking at you, Blago!)

I wish there was a none of the above on ballots.

Don’t leave the office blank. Keep it as it is that the canidate with the most votes wins.

The advantage: Most elections I end up voting against one canidate over the other. We get the least worst person in office. If I remember right in California Davis got 55% of the vote. He claimed that he was elected with a mandadte and the legislature was required to do as he told them.

In this election I am afraid to vote for either major canidate. I would rather vote none of the above. that way they could not claim that they had the voters behind them. the only thing I can do is vote third party and get ignored.

I’d rather have an option of casting a vote against one candidate which would reduce his net votes by one. None of the above isn’t fair, since you get to vote against all the people running for the office.

I think a lot of votes in an election by people who aren’t really voting for a candidate, but voting against his opponent. I think it would squash a lot of mandate talk if the election results were +27 versus -5312.

No it won’t!! :smiley:

A consensus isn’t the automatic gainsaying of anything I say!

Why would “None of the Above” be unfair? It by definition 1) effects all candidates equally, and 2) doesn’t effect the outcome, other than to squelch the mandate talk.

Whereas voting a negative vote against a single candidate necessarily favors third party candidates in a distortive way. If there are three candidates, a republican, a democrat, and a satanistic nazi, then a vote against the republican is a vote for the satanistic nazi.

I’d be fine with a “negative vote for all but this guy” option, though; a documented “least worst” vote. It wouldn’t change the outcome, but it would send a more accurate message to the parties and candidates.

Well, it can’t possibly beat that poll of whether 6 or 10 was afraid of 7. Last I looked at it, it was nearly 200 to 0.

It would work better if you added a catch: If “None of the Above” wins, then you shoot all the candidates for that office who so alienated the populace. Then you stage another election. Eventually you improve the species or discover that the office was unnecessary in the first place.