Global Politics

What if there was a none-of-the-above option in elections?

Written by Joshua Nichols

With the recent American election there was a deep running feeling that people were voting for the lesser of two evils to be put into power. This is something that needs to be avoided as it is important to democracy that everyone has a candidate that clearly represents them.

Here in the UK we have a slightly more balanced electoral system whereby we elect representatives to speak for us in Parliament, so instead of having elected one person with almost total power there is a better chance that you will end up with someone speaking for your voice in the House of Commons.

But what if one year all the parties were dreadful? The UK is forced to choose between parties that would ruin life for everyone. (I know: unlikely, but still possible). We would have an issue. So surely there needs to be a safeguard for a situation like this?

This is where we hit a bit of a wall. We have to figure out what would happen in this situation. We can look to other countries that have this option though. In some countries the next highest vote would win, however, that means that people voting none of the above (or NOTA). Now, the UK does have a NOTA option… sort of.

There is a party called the No Candidate Deserves My Vote! party whose ultimate goal is to introduce a bill that would force a NOTA option in all elections. They also say that if they would be elected they would automatically trigger a by-election forcing candidates to change their policies, and if they didn’t then people could just vote NOTA again until changes happen.

This is the current best option for people in the UK who dislike all the candidates, however, it is still not perfect as only one candidate has ever stood for election for the party meaning that nearly nobody can vote for them. This is then still flawed and could be better.

So this is where some other plans could be made. What if there was a way that people could vote for a halt of political activity. Where for four months parties could reconsider their policies and no laws would be passed. This could work, however, what if the UK was to be sent into a state of emergency? We would need someone to step in as a back-up leader should this unfortunate situation. Some people would say, make the previous prime minister the new prime minister, if a state of emergency is declared. Others would say that you would need an unbiased figure, like someone of royal descent, however, it would be unlikely as they have no political power.

This brings us to the best solution. If the No Candidate Deserves My Vote! party were to always have a representative in every constituency in the UK then we would not have to worry about finding a leader in case of emergency, we would encourage parties to be the best they can and there would be no problem with having to vote for the least worst candidate for your constituency

This brings us to a conclusion. Although today we have a majority Conservative government that we voted for, there is a deep set feeling of discontent with what they have done and a NOTA option in elections could help to eliminate this feeling. I think that it would be the responsible thing to do, to introduce a NOTA party of some type that would have a candidate in every constituency.

About the author

Joshua Nichols

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