‘None of these candidates’ makes strong election showing
November 8, 2006
Nevada’s unique “none of these candidates” option didn’t outpoll any of Tuesday’s statewide race winners, but still managed to be the choice of tens of thousands of voters in many races.
The biggest vote for “none” was in the state Supreme Court race won by Clark County District Judge Michael Cherry, who didn’t have any actual opposition. Of the 514,642 votes cast in the race, Cherry got three-quarters and “none” got the rest – 128,711 votes.
That’s a big number for what some consider a thrown-away vote, but it’s well below the 163,683 votes for “none” cast in a 2004 state Supreme Court race won by Justice Michael Douglas.
Douglas ran again this year, but only about 82,000 people voted for “none” in his race. But a big reason for the drop is the fact that he had an actual opponent, Clark County Family Court Judge Dianne Steel.
Much smaller numbers for “none” were recorded in the races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and other statewide elective contests.
Of those races, the largest vote for “none” was in the state controller’s race won by Democrat Kim Wallin. She got more than a quarter-million votes, while “none” got 31,560, or just under 6 percent of the total.
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Christine Adamson of Genoa said she made a point of voting for candidates in all races “because ‘none of the above’ is kind of a waste.”
“I liked what candidates had to say,” Adamson said. “I wrote letters to some of them and got responses.”
Gary Dykes of Gardnerville said he chose “none” in a few cases because he didn’t know enough about the candidates. “I didn’t want to vote for people I didn’t know. It’s kind of like a protest vote, rather than not voting at all,” added Dykes.
Keith Whiting of Carson City said he voted for candidates in all races where he had an actual choice between contenders- but cast a ballot for “none” in Cherry’s Supreme Court race. He added he wasn’t throwing away his vote since Cherry was getting a free ride onto the high court no matter how many ballots were cast for “none.”
The “none of these candidates” option was approved by the 1975 Legislature as a way for voters to express dissatisfaction with candidates in statewide races.
“None” can’t actually win a race, but did come in first in primary congressional contests in 1976 and 1978. It also finished ahead of both George Bush and Edward Kennedy in Nevada’s 1980 presidential primaries. “None” has never finished first in a general election contest.
Periodic attempts since 1975 to get rid of “None” have failed. No other state has such a voting option.