Support the NOTA Option
Home Up


by Ross Nordeen

First, let me say that I've had the opportunity to review the proposals put forth by the Constitutional Liberty Coalition and I'd like to fully endorse the 12 proposals that have been made by the CLC. I hope to see all 12 proposals on the next ballot so that the people of Florida will have a chance to vote on those amendments.

Having said that, I'd like to address one additional proposal, a None Of The Above, or "NOTA", requirement for all state and local elections. A NOTA amendment would require that all ballots contain the choice "None of the above is acceptable" for each position and would specify that if NOTA received a plurality of the votes, that a new election would be held for that position, with all new candidates. To make sure I'm being perfectly clear on that last point, let me re-state that. A NOTA win for a particular position would disqualify all candidates who were on that ballot for that position and require that the new election have all new candidates.

Why is this a good thing? A NOTA option on the ballot can be a powerful tool for the people to express their will. First, it prevents automatic wins when there is only candidate on the ballot. Thus a candidate will have to prove that he is actually better than nothing, rather than winning due to his ability to intimidate others from vying for his or her seat. This point is especially important for Florida, since we have some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation. If I may go off on a tangent for a moment here, I'd like to point out that this situation could be partially improved by the Constitutional Liberty Coalition's proposal 7, which would amend article 1, section 5 of the Constitution to increase judicial scrutiny of ballot access requirements. Currently, uncontested seats are, unfortunately, all too common here. Second, a NOTA option frees the voters from having to choose between the lesser of two or more evils. It may very well be that none of the candidates on a ballot is capable of representing the views of a majority of voters in his or her district. If that is the case, then why should one of them get the office? Should a candidate win simply because he or she was the least bad? Third, currently, there is no way to distinguish between voter apathy and voter disgust. The NOTA option allows the voters to express an active, measurable dislike for all the candidates.

In closing, I think the NOTA requirement is a very positive, very pro-choice proposal. It would empower voters and give them something to vote for as opposed to always voting against someone. I also think that NOTA is a very nonpartisan proposal and that candidates and parties of all persuasions should think highly enough of themselves that they have nothing to fear from having NOTA on the ballot. The only people who do have to fear NOTA are the mud-slingers, the negative campaigners, and those who fear healthy competition and choice.


This page was last updated 07/02/00 01:50 PM