What if nobody voted for the only candidate on the ballot?

In some elections candidates run unopposed. But what if nobody voted for the only guy running? Say they got to that section on the ballot for the office he was running for and decided not to vote for him, and not to write in a name. The candidate gets 0% of 0 votes. What happens? Has this ever happened anywhere? Have any poor slobs ever lost an election against himself?

The person running votes for themself, so at least one vote is a guarantee

Pkbites is correct. The candidate (and you would hope the candidate’s spouse) would cast the deciding votes.
But you are hitting on an interesting area. There are nonvotes (10,000 people voted but 1,000 didn’t put in a choice in this particular race) and those nonvotes do appear in the initial printout available to the media.
A lot of people don’t know this. I always thought a nonvote from a whole bunch of voters could be a very loud voice to an unpopular candidate running unopposed.

Not always true. One time in a school board election in Kansas, the unopposed candidate didn’t vote…and neither did anybody else.

The board appointed somebody else to fill the spot.

In Canada, there wouldn’t be a ballot - if there’s only one candidate, that person is elected by acclamation, without a poll being taken.

Happens quite frequently in municipal elections, but it’s very rare in the provincial and federal elections - I can’t remember an instance in recent history of a candidate running unopposed.

I remember this happening about 15 years ago in a sheriff’s contest in Alabama or Mississippi. The unopposed sheriff didn’t bother voting, and neither did anybody else. They had to hold a new election.

      • Somewhat related: Remember the episode of Night Court where Dan ran for State’s Attorney against a deceased candidate and the dead guy won? -In Missouri’s recent governor election a dead candidate won, , , , -so his wife took the post. Partisan politics aside, this whole arrangement looks very odd but the other candidate conceded. He shouldn’t have. - MC

That’s the way it works in Florida too. At least in these races, we don’t have problems counting the ballots. I hope.
Slightly off point … I’d really like to see “None of the Above” as a choice in every election. If NOTA “wins” then a new election would be held, and all of the candidates (and their spouses?) from the first race would be prohibited from running in the NOTA re-election.

U.S. senate race, actually. The incumbent was Sen. John Ashcroft (yeah, we voted him out of office, only to watch him rise to an even higher position… :rolleyes: ). The challenger was Mel Carnahan, who at the time was our current governor (until his death, anyway).

His wife didn’t “take” the post. Carnahan died a few days after the official deadline to have his name taken off the ballot. Now, obviously we couldn’t have a dismembered corpse representing us in the Senate; state code said that in such a case, the governor has the authority to appoint a replacement. He announced before the general election that he intended to appoint Jean Carnahan, the governor’s wife, to the seat should her late husband be elected. He was, and she was. Nothing “odd” or “partisan” about it at all.

Uh…why? Ashcroft lost the election vote by a statistically significant margin, and everything else was done according to the previously established code of the state of Missouri.