Do you care about politics but hate most politicians? Soon you may be able to register your disgust with a vote for "None of the Above."
State Sen. Branden Petersen (R-Andover) introduced a bill (SF 955) this week that would place "None of the Above" on the ballot for every statewide and local election. If None of the Above ever won, a new election would be held where all of the candidates who lost would be barred from entering.
"My feeling is the two-party system often hasn't represented the best interests of the people and public polling backs up that sentiment," says Petersen. "I believe folks ought to be able to have an option to say, 'We don't approve of either one of you guys.'"
Nevada has had a None of the Above option on its ballots since the late 1970s, although its version is non-binding, meaning if None of the Above wins, the seat goes to the candidate who finished second.
Last year None of the Above actually came in first in Nevada's Democratic primary for governor after the party failed to field any likable candidates. Before that Republicans took a legal challenge all the way to the Supreme Court to get the option off the ballot, but the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, effectively shutting down the challenge.
Anyone who's wasted an afternoon watching old movies on Comedy Central may recall Richard Pryor doing a whole movie on this idea in the 1985 classic Brewster's Millions.
Pryor plays Monty Brewster, a failed minor league baseball player who needs to spend $30 million in 30 days in order to receive a $300 million inheritance left for him by his great-uncle Rupert. Brewster figures there's no better way to blow a ton of money in a short time frame than jumping into the Chicago mayoral race, and when it appears he might actually win he urges everyone to vote for None of the Above.h/t @LukeHellier
Petersen says there's virtually no chance the bill passes this year; he's mostly interested in getting the conversation started. He's piqued the interest of several other legislators, and it may get an informational hearing before this year's session is over.
"It'll ruffle some feathers in both of the major parties, without a doubt, and I think that's a good thing," he says. "I think the public would support a little more ruffling of those feathers."
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