“None of the above,” or NOTA, is a voting concept that would allow ballot-casters to express their frustration with the available candidates. It’s been a staple of voting procedure at the United States Libertarian Party for years.
The Florida legislature is now considering an “I Choose Not To Vote” option. This choice is not the same as NOTA, since if it “won” a majority of votes it would not result in any necessary action. The candidate who gets the highest vote total would still win the race, but the option would “enable uninformed or disgusted voters to opt out in a way that clearly displays their intention to abstain for elections officials,” according to state Sen. Mike Bennett.
The idea is basically NOTA without the teeth. But it may be a step in the right direction for a nation facing depressed voter turnouts, increasingly negative campaigns, and a problematic nomination system.
And at least in the case of Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, it may be a more attractive option than simply not casting a ballot at all.