Letters to the Editor

We need a `none of the above’ or `abstain’ vote

Miami Dade College staff work inside the hall where Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will debate Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami.
Miami Dade College staff work inside the hall where Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will debate Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami. AP

Are you as tired as I am of all the 'rock 'n roll' of politics these days? To turn the TV on and hear the rant and backbiting from the candidates is disgusting to me. Somehow I just don't think this is representative of striving for the highest office in our land.

And on top of this, most of us probably favor a certain candidate but deep down we realize that he or she just doesn't quite fill the bill. And I know we can't expect a mortal saint to come to our rescue. But what are we to do in November - toss a coin? I don't know the answer to that now; but here's a suggestion for the future in our country's politics. (And I'm sure this is not the first time that this subject has been approached.)

One thing we could do to improve the quality of our candidates would be to agitate for a check box on the ballot that would simply say “none of the above” or “I abstain.” This would be so much more powerful to make it an official vote. In other words, for example we could require the winner to get at least 40 percent of the vote. Thus, when the abstentions made that mathematically impossible, another election would have to be held, with the candidate who got the lowest vote count dropped out in favor of a new entry.

The voting would continue in this way until the politicians finally cried uncle and capitulated by slating a nominee that someone other than burglars, muggers, and corruptionists could conscionably vote for.

I understand that a few states already have a “none of the above” category in their primaries. In general elections, however, it's still the same 'ole story. I imagine the career politicians would probably resist the introduction of an “I abstain” checkbox. A heavy abstain vote would be a repudiation of them as an order, a class.

Finally, I wish I could take credit for formulating this suggestion, but must be honest and admit that the gist of this came from a magazine article of many years ago at another critical juncture in our country's political history.

Any thoughts?

The writer lives in Georgetown.

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