Nate Silver, over at 538, a New York Times blog, has a post today about the “none of the above” option in Nevada. It seems that NOTA is polling well enough to have an effect on the Senate race, where a majority dislikes Reid but fears Angle. Lots of comments weigh in on the pluses and minuses of voting for no one.
I’ve thought for a long time that a simple improvement over the current system would be to give voters the option of voting for or against a particular candidate. If they vote for, the candidate gets an additional vote, the way it works now. If they vote against, one vote would be deducted from that candidate’s total.
There are two advantages. First, in many cases it will allow voters to more accurately express their preferences. If you really don’t like candidate X and are neutral about candidate Y, negative voting makes your feelings clear. In fact, if there are more than two candidates in the running, stopping one of them may be your highest priority.
Second, the final tally may give a better representation of the public’s true feelings, especially if the winning candidate is the one with the least negative numbers. We would hear less nonsense about mandates.