In 1976, Nevada gave its voters the unique choice to cast their ballots for “none” if they did not like any of the candidates trying to wrest the electorate. The Nevada Legislature passed the option following the Watergate scandal, and to tackle voter apathy.
The measure, which allows voters to voice their disagreement about all candidates in any election, includes presidential elections, U.S. Senate elections and elections of state constitutional offices as well as that of the Nevada Supreme Court.
It seems voters in Nevada are quite often displeased with all candidates present before them as options and frequently choose to cast their vote as “none of these.” Though the “none” option cannot win, even if it receives the most votes, it can decide outcomes.
Republicans brought a lawsuit last year arguing “none” disenfranchises voters because such choices have no legal standing in the outcome of a vote.
On Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the matter ruling the plaintiffs had no legal standing to bring the lawsuit. The lawsuit had earlier been rejected in a federal appeals court, but the plaintiffs had appealed.
Though the “none” vote is not known to have made big impacts on presidential or other vital elections, it does often play a part in local politics. In 1998, Republican Rep. John Ensign lost to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid by only 428 votes, while the ballots showed at least 8, 000 voters had opted for “none” and rejected both candidates. If even 5 percent of those voters who cast “none” had voted for Ensign, the Republican could have won.
Last year, Democrat Shelley Berkley failed to win the U.S. Senate race against Republican Sen. Dean Heller. Berkley lost by 12,000 votes, but 45,000 voters disliked both candidates and opted for “none.”
Nevada’s Secretary of State, Ross Miller, welcomed the ruling and said, “Voters who want to express their dissatisfaction with the federal and statewide candidates on the ballot should have the option and freedom to do it.”