Voters in state and national elections are often dissatisfied with the candidates from which they can choose. Does the voter register a protest vote against their party’s candidate, vote for the least offensive candidate or abstain completely? Each of these options leaves the voter feeling as if their vote were wasted. Nevada voters have another option to express their objection to the listed candidates.
Nevada Voters Have a Unique Choice When Casting Their Ballots
However, Nevada voters have been given another option since 1976. They can choose “none of the above” in state and federal elections. In fact this option makes Nevada politics unique. No other state in the nation has such an option. While some states like Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and others have contemplated a “none of the above”, or NOTA choice it has failed in every one.
NOTA Allows Voters to Express Their Disapproval
Nevada voters in support of NOTA claim that it provides unhappy voters with the opportunity to send a message instead of not voting at all. They say that this would have cleared up, for example, any uncertainty in the 2006 Congressional race in Sarasota County, Florida where more than 18,000 voters did not have their votes counted because they left their ballot empty.
Former Michigan state legislator, Greg Kaza, says that Nevada politics would have been helpful in Michigan. He says that NOTA, “…creates a means for citizens… to express their displeasure.” And, “anything that… increases competition is a good thing.” Even though the NOTA bill he sponsored in Michigan 1995 did not pass. “The political class… does not like this idea”, says Kaza.
NOTA Does Not Have a Big Impact on Voter Turnout
University of Nevada – Las Vegas professor David Damore researched NOTA voting there. He said that several myths about it could be discredited. For example, there does not appear to be a correlation between NOTA and voter turnout. One good outcome has shown that NOTA voting increases when there are fewer candidates from which voters can choose. He says, that Nevada politics give voters not just an opportunity to vote but a“… means to signal their dissatisfaction with the status quo.’ It sends the message that incumbents do not have an advantage because they have been in office.