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Judge: Nevada Voters Can't Choose 'None of the Above'

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 23, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

When voters feel disenfranchised or disappointed with their political choices, they tend to stay home from the polls. Except in Nevada.

In Nevada, voters can choose from a field of named candidates, or they can select “none of these candidates.”

At least they could until this week.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jones ruled that Nevada's ballot alternative of none of the above was unconstitutional because votes for "none" don't count in the final tallies that determine winners, reports The Washington Post.

The next stop for the Nevada election law is the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Secretary of State Ross Miller said his office would pursue "an immediate and expedited appeal to protect the long-standing public interest of the 'none of these candidates' option."

So how did this refusal to vote while engaging in one's civic duty arise? Fox News reports:

"None of the above" was introduced to Nevada in 1978, when it was reasoned by the state that those who offer their consent to elect an official also have the right to withhold their consent. Nevada was the only state to offer the "none" option, and while state law says "none" can't win - even if it receives the most votes - opponents fear it could siphon votes from other candidates and influence the election outcome...

And now that "none" is not an option, Nevada voters can't even turn to write-in ballots to express their displeasure with their candidate choices. Write-in voting is mostly prohibited in Nevada. Under Nevada election law, it now seems that the only opportunity for a write-in vote is through a federal write-in absentee ballot under the Uniformed Military and Overseas Absentee Voters Act.

The Republican National Committee bankrolled the challenge out of concern that "none of the above votes" would siphon votes could affect the outcome in the presidential and U.S. Senate races, reports The Washington Post. There's no indication yet about whether "none of the above" voters will flock to the right if the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the decision.

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