“None of these candidates” will be a choice on Nevada’s ballots on Election Day
Considering the major party nominees for president this year are two of the most unpopular in recent history, it should hardly come as a shock that a substantial amount of Americans are leaning third party or just opting out. When both choices are pretty much garbage, what’s a voter to do? Well, in one state, you won’t even have to vote third party or write something in to cast a protest vote. That’s right: in Nevada, “none of these candidates” will be an option on ballots. Like, you can literally go to the polls on Election Day just to not vote, or vote for everything except president.
The legislation that made “none of these candidates” an option on Nevada ballots was crafted by former Nevada Assemblyman and state Senator Don Mello, a Democrat from Washoe County who introduced the legislation in 1975. He claims he’d gone door-to-door for President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, only to find a substantial amount of Americans just weren’t interested in leaving their houses to vote.
Eventually, he told The Reno Gazette-Journal, he “asked each one of them if they could go to the polls and vote no instead of voting for someone — just vote no so their vote would be registered — would you go then?” He explained, “When I came up with the idea and went back and asked them, every one of them told me they would.”
Research compiled by the Nevada secretary of state indicates “none of these candidates” is presently more popular than voting Libertarian.
“When I introduced the legislation in 1975, I had it on everybody’s race: ‘none of the above,'” Mello recounts. “My colleagues hated it, but I was very successful in convincing them that we ought to put it on the ballot somewhere.” In 1976, one state Supreme Court justice ran unopposed, but “none of these candidates” captured a whopping third of the vote.
The latest polling in Nevada by Real Clear Politics has Trump up a half-point in the battleground state. While those who aren’t too keen on Clinton or third party candidates might happily vote “none,” early voting in Nevada appears to favor Clinton.
While things are pretty even between the major party candidates at the moment, in the state of Nevada, “none of these candidates” has a long history of not only drawing a substantial amount of votes, but at times, even winning races. In the 2014 gubernatorial race, a majority of Democrats voted for “none of these candidates,” The Reno Gazette-Journal notes.
In 1998, Democratic Senator Harry Reid, defeated Republican John Ensign by just 438 votes, while “none of these candidates” won a whole 8,125 votes. And when Republican Senator Dean Heller, himself a longtime supporter of the “none of these candidates” option, won his 2012 senate race by 11,576 votes, “none of these candidates” received 45,277 votes.
Let’s not underestimate the political power of “none of these candidates” in Nevada this year. Just like Senators Reid and Heller can attest, voting “none” still leads to an actual person winning, so if Nevada voters want a say in who that is, they should vote for a human.