Las Vegas Sun

October 31, 2014

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How would Nevada politics change if “none of these candidates” wasn’t a ballot option?

Just because you hate the candidates doesn’t mean you’re apathetic. That’s what a new lawsuit wants to make clear. The suit’s plaintiffs point out that Nevada is the only state in the country that mandates political ballots offer a “none of these candidates” option. State law also mandates that election officials ignore these votes.

If “none of these candidates” received the most votes in an election, the second place candidate would win. The alternatives, the lawsuit explains, could include a vacancy in the office or a new election.

A moot issue? Nope. Walden Earhart won the 1976 Republican primary for Nevada’s at-large congressional district with 9,831 votes. Opponent Dart Anthony only received 8,097, but the popular “none of these candidates,” received a whopping 16,097 votes ... which were thrown out, giving Earhart the win.

Then in 1998, Harry Reid beat John Ensign for the U.S. Senate seat by just 428 votes. “None of these candidates” received 8,125 votes, which, again, were discarded. Who knows how the election would have turned out if “none of these candidates” wasn’t in the running.

Political reporter Jon Ralston says the lawsuit is “unquestionably a Republican effort,” which brings up the question, why do the Republicans think “none of these candidates” will siphon votes from Republicans (like Ross Perot did), as opposed to siphoning votes from Democrats (like Ralph Nader did). Apparently, “none of these candidates” leans right.

Of course, we’ll never know for sure; “none of these candidates” couldn’t be reached for comment.

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