- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
- CIA admits $3 billion intelligence operation was a flop
Judge strikes down ‘none of these candidates’ as an option
RENO, Nev. — Nevada’s “none of the above” voting option was struck down Wednesday by a federal judge, who ruled the state’s decades-old ballot alternative was unconstitutional because votes for “none” don’t count in the final tallies that determine winners.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones came at the end of a lively hearing where the judge challenged both sides in the legal arguments with hypothetical questions and ramifications of possible rulings he was considering.
In the end, he struck the option down altogether for both federal and statewide races, and refused to grant a stay while his decision is appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Secretary of State Ross Miller said his office would pursue “an immediate and expedited appeal to protect the long-standing public interest of the ‘none of these candidates’ option.”
A federal lawsuit filed in June and bankrolled by the Republican National Committee argued Nevada’s unique voter option, which has appeared on every election ballot for statewide races since 1976, disenfranchises voters because it’s a perpetual loser. Under state law, even if “none” receives the most votes, it doesn’t win. Victory is reserved for people, though “none” before has played a role in determining the winner in some high-profile races.
Deputy Attorney General Kevin Benson, representing the secretary of state, argued voters “always have the right to not vote” for listed candidates, and that voting for “none” is essentially no different than skipping a particular race on a ballot altogether or not voting at all.
“You’re free to stay home on the couch,” he said, arguing that such non-votes don’t count either.
He likened “none” to a protest vote, a way for voters to communicate with politicians that they are unhappy with their choices.
“The purpose of the option is to send a clear message,” he said
But the judge disagreed, and early in the hourlong hearing said he believed that a “none” vote was indeed a vote that should be counted toward election results, and not just to register a protest.
“I don’t buy your arguments that it isn’t a vote, because it is a vote,” Judge Jones said.
At one point Judge Jones suggested that requiring votes for “none” to be counted and binding would satisfy the legal challenges raised in the lawsuit. If “none” got the most votes, nobody would be elected and the vacancy could be filled by governor appointment, he theorized.
Instead, he granted an injunction to strip “none” from the Nevada ballot.
“None” has never bested named candidates in a general election, though it has come out on top in a few primary contests. But in the 1998 U.S. Senate race, however, Democrat Harry Reid won re-election by 428 votes over then-Rep. John Ensign. More than 8,000 voters rejected both men and opted to vote for “none.”
That’s a scenario the option’s challengers didn’t want to see this year. The contest between President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney promises to be close, as does the one between Republican Sen. Dean Heller and his Democratic challenger, Rep. Shelley Berkley.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Let’s talk about everything, especially the absurdity of it all
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Never apologetic. Never afraid. Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West joins Communities to bring tales from the biggest Foxhole of them all, the one inside the Beltway.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow