But what happens when “None Of These Candidates” wins?
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With the two-party system the United States currently has in place, it’s easy to feel like there aren’t enough viable options when it comes time to vote. Typically, when a voter can’t decide between the Republican and Democratic nominees, he or she can write in a name of his or her choosing, vote for a third-party candidate, or not vote at all.
In Nevada, however, voters can make their dissatisfaction known by officially voting for no one. Nevada, home to casinos and legal prostitution, is the only state to offer voters the “None Of These Candidates” option on the ballot, a choice that’s been available to residents since 1975. Post-Watergate, Nevadan politicians wanted to ensure voters could still have a voice even if they’d given up on politics altogether, the Washington Post reports.
Since that bill was passed, “None Of These Candidates” has won four major elections, one of them being the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2014 despite the fact that there were eight real humans to choose from. Only, as you might have guessed, “None Of These Candidates” can’t actually take office, which means the runner-up in these stalemates usually takes the top prize. So while the option might feel liberating, know that you’re essentially voting for whoever will likely come in second place. This year, with 4 percent of voters planning to opt for no one (according to a Monmouth University survey), it’s anyone’s guess how big of a wrench will be thrown into the mix.
However, as Nevada Humanities’ Dennis Myers points out, there’s the equally likely possibility that voters will just stay home, an inadvertent consequence that has only grown since the option was implemented. In a blog post Myers writes,
“Whatever its intent, the option has been a lesson in unintended consequences. It is often described as a way for voters to register protest, but it has been the incumbent's best friend. Advocates regard it as a way to boost voter interest and turnout, but Nevada has experienced a nearly uninterrupted decline in turnout since its creation.”