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Would you choose...
None of the Above?

September 22, 2014

When we ran for Congress in 2012 most of the nine candidates agreed on the major issues.  But there were a couple areas where we had disagreements.  Term limits was one of the issues.  John was in favor of having term limits, in part, because many who serve for long periods become more attached to their positions than to those who elected them.   Bill and Mark, on the other hand, opposed term limits because they felt it restricts the voter’s right of free choice.  Instead, Bill and Mark wanted to impose four year term limits on how long a Congressman is allowed to serve in a leadership position (e.g., as committee/subcommittee chair).

The issue is an interesting one with good arguments on both sides.  For example, it is hard to beat an incumbent because he/she has the name recognition and often a large campaign war chest that makes it difficult for a challenger to compete for votes.  That would argue for having term limits.  At the same time if you have an elected official who is doing a good job and serves his/her constituents well, then why should he/she be forced out of office based solely upon length of service?

So, with the November election just around the corner we come to you today with a novel idea that is logical, that makes sense, and which will most likely never happen -- because most incumbents won’t support it!

What if for every race other than President/Vice President -- from Governor down to a local city councilman – the option “None of the Above” is added to the ballot?  If “None of the Above” gets a majority of the votes in any race then it would force another election in which any person appearing on the ballot in the first election would not be eligible to run?  In order to avoid an endless chain of elections “None of the Above” would not be included as a choice in the subsequent races.

Possible benefits:

  • First, unlike term limits, it doesn’t take away the rights of the voters to make a choice about whether they want to keep their current elected official(s) in office.  If the voters like him/her they can vote to reelect that person, if not, they could vote for “None of the Above;”

  • Second, it would increase the attention elected officials pay to serving those who elected them -- something that some elected officials often lose sight of;

  • Third, in races where challengers are not willing to file to run against incumbents because it is hard to compete against large campaign war chests and widespread name recognition it could give voters the option of saying “We want to see more choices/alternatives;”

  • Fourth, in races where there are multiple candidates, and the voters don’t like any of the choices, it would give the voters another opportunity to see some new and different choices; and

  • Fifth, it might also produce some fresh talent and new ideas on how to conduct the business of government.

We think this makes sense.  Even though this may be just an intellectual exercise, we’d like your feedback.  Let us know how you feel about this proposal by writing the Daily News or by joining us on Facebook and expressing your opinion!

Bill, Mark and John