VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE
The None of the Above option (also ‘vote of no confidence’ or ‘scratch’ vote) is a form of protest vote in people willfully spoil their ballot rather than choosing a candidate. It sends a clear message to politicians that they are unelectable, and that the people demand fresh elections more in line with democratic choices.
There are several methods to ballot spoiling. Voters can use conventional ones such as writing “NO” or a large, black “X” across the ballot. They can simply leave it blank or put another person’s name, like their boyfriend or pet cat, as a proposed candidate. They can even spill hot coffee or use the ballot as toilet paper to show contempt for candidates. Anything goes in direct democracy.
OFFICIAL NOTA SYMBOL
The official symbol of the NOTA movement was created in 2015 by the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India–two years after the Supreme Court of India finally approved the NOTA option, although they declined to count them as official votes.
A donkey vote is a form of spoilt ballot in which a voter numbers all of the boxes from first to last in a carefree manner. The method, which originates in Australia, was created in response to the Electoral Commission’s preferential voting procedure.
Several candidates have changed their names to “None of the Above” to promote protest voting. One examples was former boxer Sheldon Bergson of Whitby, Canada, who paid $137 to officially change his name to Above Znoneofthe in an attempt to win the election. Despite his expensive PR stunt, he still lost to the actual None of the Above Party.
The ACE mentions the Portuguese novel Seeing, written by award-winning author Jose Saramaga in which a right-wing government responds with rabid authoritarian butthurt after 83% of voters left their ballots blank. In it, “the central government reacts by declaring a state of emergency and building a wall around the capital city, while police use lie-detector machines in their hunt for voters who cast blank ballots”.
NOTA AROUND THE WORLD
Currently, 12 countries officially recognise the NOTA option: Colombia, Ukraine, Brazil, Bangladesh, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Chile, France, Belgium, Greece, and India.
NOTA PARTIES IN THE UK
In the UK, there are several active NOTA parties, including NOTA-UK, the Above and Beyond Party, VoteOrVoteNone, and the No Candidate Deserves My Vote! Party. Despite this, it is still not an acceptable option for British democracy.
NOTA PARTIES IN AMERICA
In the US, Nevada has officially endorsed “None of these Candidates” votes, and the NY State Senate has proposed Senate Bill S5051A, which would allow the option as well. In Canada, citizens in Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan are already on board.
NOTA PARTY IN CANADA
In Canada, the NOTA Party campaigns on the foundation of the “3 Rs”–referendum (direct democracy), recall, and responsible government–to ensure unaccountable representatives understand that they are unelectable.
COCK AND BALLS
During May 2015 elections, A young Welsh voter spoilt his ballot by drawing a cock and balls on it and offered it to Tory MP Glyn Davies. Rest assured, the BBC hopped on the juicy story and shoved it ‘front and centre’ in its daily headlines.
KNOW YOUR MP
Although it’s difficult to know whether or not a respective MP actually works for you, it’s easier now that MySociety has created a handy website to find out if they are. By entering their postcode, visitors can view each of their MPs parliamentary performance, and whether or not they have betrayed the interests of their constituencies.