None of the above: Wikis

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None of the Above (NOTA) or against all is a ballot choice in some jurisdictions or organizations, placed so as to allow the voter to indicate his disapproval with all of the candidates in any voting system. It is based on the principle that all legitimate consent requires the ability to withhold consent, allowing voters to withhold their consent in an election to office, just as they can by voting no on ballot questions.

Entities that include "None of the Above" on ballots as standard procedure include Greece (λευκό, white, but unrelated to a political party of the similarly-sounding name), the U.S. state of Nevada (None of These Candidates), Ukraine (Against all), Spain (voto en blanco), France (vote blanc), Colombia (voto en blanco), the United States Libertarian Party and Green Party, the Florida affiliate of the American Patriot Party,[1] and the Debian Project.[2] Russia had such an option on its ballots (Against all) until it was abolished in 2006.[3]

When None of the Above is listed on a ballot, there is the theoretical possibility of NOTA receiving a majority of the vote cast. In such a case, a variety of formal procedures may be invoked, including having the office remain vacant, having the office filled by appointment, re-opening nominations, or beginning the election process again (in a body operating under parliamentary procedure).

In Nevada, the actual candidate with the greatest number of votes assumes office regardless of how many votes None of the Above gets. Thus None of the Above acts purely as a repository for protest votes.[4]

The Green Party of California included NOTA in its original 1991 bylaws, to offer voters a choice of rejecting all candidates presented. After one round of successful elections in which a candidate in Southern California and all gubernatorial candidates were retired after the primary by NOTA, a lawsuit promulgated by the California Secretary of State led to the disallowal of NOTA in Green Party primaries.[citation needed]

In 2000, Michael Moore advocated a write-in candidate Ficus (the plant) for Congress as a unified vote for none of the above in congressional seats where the incumbent was running unopposed.[5]

In 2004, the Oklahoma Green, Libertarian and Constitution parties endorsed a NOTA campaign for president that was organized by Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform. The campaign called for voters to leave the Presidential ballot line blank in protest of restrictive ballot access laws.[citation needed]

Ralph Nader ran as a NOTA candidate and supports the NOTA option as a method of voters to withhold consent and to initiate a new round of elections.[citation needed]

The South Wales Anarchists group has run an ongoing campaign urging people to "Vote Nobody" since 2008[6] and many other Anarchist groups worldwide have put out propaganda using similar slogans.

During the run up to the 2008 United States elections, Beltaine's Fire, a celtic hip hop band from California, released a song and a music video in support of such anti-parliamentary campaigns called "None of the Above" [7] urging people to "check other and write none of the above".

Contents

Re-open Nominations (RON)

Many students' unions in the United Kingdom (including the National Union of Students) use a very similar ballot option called re-open nominations (RON) in instant runoff voting (alternative vote) and single transferable vote (STV) elections. The key difference is that RON is an active vote against all candidates in FPTP (First Past The Post) and all subsequent candidates in an STV election.

In elections for the JCR at St Hilda's College, Oxford, the equivalent option is called "T.E.S.S.A" - which stands for "This Election Should Start Again".[8] This is a throwback to the days when St Hilda's was an exclusively female college (men were first admitted in 2008) and it was felt that RON, being a male name, was an inappropriate candidate.

There are several ways of dealing with a RON candidate. In a single member constituency or election to a single position RON is treated as a normal candidate. If re-open nominations is deemed elected to any position then at the end of the count that position is declared vacant and nominations must later be re-opened for that position.

In a multi-member constituency there are two possible approaches. In the first, when a RON candidate is elected, all other candidates below RON are declared not to be elected and the counting process stops, the election is then re-run for that and all other unfilled positions. In the second, RON is elected to a position, then any surplus is transferred to another RON(2) candidate as if such an option had been presented on the ballot paper. If RON(2) is elected, then the process carries on with RON(3), RON(4) candidates and so on until all seats are filled.[9]

None of the Above candidates

  • Stephen Phillips of Stevenage will be running for the UK General Election, 2010. He campaigns under the title of Steve of Stevenage[10].
  • David Gatchell of Tennessee ran for governor in 2002 and for Senate in 2006 as a protest, officially changing his middle name from Leroy to None of the Above.[11] In 2006, he got 3,738 votes (0.2 percent).
  • Geoff Richardson changed his full name to Of The Above None and stood as an independent for the seat of Gilmore at the 2007 Australian federal election. His name appeared as NONE, Of the Above on the ballot.[12]
  • A Prince George businessman ran in the June 2, 1997 Canadian election in the district of Prince George-Bulkley Valley[13] under the name Zznoneoff, Thea Bove (Thea Bove Zznoneoff); ballots listing candidates alphabetically by surname, he appeared at the bottom. He came sixth of seven candidates with 0.977 percent of votes cast.
  • Brewster's Millions In the film Brewster (played by Richard Pryor) is required, under certain conditions, to spend 30 million dollars in 30 days. He joins the race for Mayor of New York City and throws most of his money at a protest campaign urging a vote for None of the Above. The two major candidates sue Brewster for his confrontational rhetoric, leading to a massive settlement which of course furthers their competitor's true goal. Brewster is forced to end his campaign when he learns that he is leading in the polls as a write-in candidate and has to publicly announce that he if he won the mayoralty he wants to decline it, but is surprised his "None of the Above" campaign became so popular. Oddly neither candidate wins the election, add a new election with different candidates must be held.
  • L. Neil Smith's The Probability Broach has an alternate history of the United States, where None of the Above has received the most votes for President of the North American Confederacy on multiple occasions.
  • In Greece the «none of the above» option is called ΛΕΥΚΟ (white), and a political party with the acronym Λ.Ε.Υ.Κ.Ο. has appeared, winning some thousands of votes.
  • In Serbia, None of the above (Nijedan od ponudjenih odgovora, NOPO) is a new party, formed in 2008, which became mostly popularized on Facebook and other social networking sites.
  • In Ukrainian presidential election, 2010, a candidate Vasiliy Humeniuk changed his name to Vasily Protyvsih (Vasily Against-all)[14][15].

NOTA party in the UK

NOTA was registered as a political party with the UK Electoral Commission on 2 March 2009.[16] It is the intention of NOTA to field candidates in every UK parliamentary constituency. The respective NOTA candidates will not continue in office should they receive the most votes. It is merely a mechanism to facilitate a means of recording a NOTA vote. This party is registered as "NOTA" and not "None of the above" as under the Registration of Political Parties (Prohibited Words and Expressions) (Amendment) Order 2005 (S.I. 2005/147), "None of the above" is a prohibited expression regarding registration as a party name.[17]

No Candidate Deserves My Vote! party in the UK

No Candidate Deserves My Vote! was registered as a political party with the UK Electoral Commission on 23 November 2000.[18] The No Candidate Deserves My Vote! party has one aim and that is to introduce a bill to Parliament to have a "None of the above" option added to every local and general election ballot paper of the future. That way the UK electorate can exercise their democratic right to vote to say that none of the parties currently represents them. It will also encourage their democratic responsibility to turn out to vote. If a candidate wins an election it is the intention to stay as an MP until the change in the law is enacted. Only then will the candidate step down and the party be disbanded.

It is the intention of the party that if a NOTA gains the majority vote that it should cause an automatic By-election. The idea being that the majority have given a Vote of No Confidence in the current standing candidates. If the same candidates stand under the same policies then the electorate simply vote NOTA until the candidates change their policies to something that the electorate can vote for.

Illegal ballots in Robert's Rules of Order

Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 10th edition, p. 402, describes various forms of illegal ballots, which are ballots which do not count for any candidate. Blanks are treated as "scrap paper" and are of no effect, but "unintelligible ballots or ballots cast for an unidentifiable candidate or a fictional character are treated as illegal votes. "All illegal votes cast by legal voters… are taken into account in determining the number of votes cast for purposes of computing the majority." RRONR always requires a majority for election, and so casting an illegal ballot, or one for a hopeless candidate, whether on the ballot or as a write-in, is equivalent to voting No for all other candidates. "The principle is that a choice has no mandate from the voting body unless approval is expressed by more than half of those entitled to vote and registering any evidence of having some opinion."

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.americanpatriotparty.cc
  2. ^ http://www.debian.org/devel/constitution#5 Debian Constitution para. 5.2.6
  3. ^ http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/12773
  4. ^ http://nota.org/lasvegasun.html Las Vegas Sun, November 8th 2006
  5. ^ http://www.commondreams.org/news2000/0426-09.htm Ficus Plant Announces Candidacy For Congress
  6. ^ http://southwalesanarchists.org/
  7. ^ http://beltainesfire.com/2008/10/07/none-of-the-above
  8. ^ http://www.sthildasjcr.co.uk/Your%20JCR/Archives/JCR%20CONSTITUTION%20AMENDED%20-%202.doc
  9. ^ http://www.mvcwestsussex.org.uk/glossary.html#RON
  10. ^ http://www.steveofstevenage.org.uk Steve of Stevenage
  11. ^ http://tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060720/NEWS0206/607200385
  12. ^ http://www.noneoftheabove.com.au/about.htm
  13. ^ http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Sites/LOP/HFER/hfer.asp?Language=E&Search=Gres&genElection=36&ridProvince=2&submit1=Search
  14. ^ CEC registers two more candidates for Ukraine's president, Interfax-Ukraine (November 6, 2009)
  15. ^ Three candidates united by disgust with authorities, Kyiv Post (November 19, 2009)
  16. ^ "NOTA". Electoral Commission. http://registers.electoralcommission.org.uk/regulatory-issues/regpoliticalparties.cfm?frmGB=1&frmPartyID=867&frmType=partydetail. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  17. ^ Registration of Political Parties (Prohibited Words and Expressions) (Amendment) Order 2005
  18. ^ "No Candidate Deserves My Vote!". Electoral Commission. http://registers.electoralcommission.org.uk/regulatory-issues/regpoliticalparties.cfm?frmGB=1&frmPartyID=167&frmType=partydetail. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 

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