Senator “None of the Above?” N.H. Weighs Giving Ballot Option to Vote…for Nobody.

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Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 3 2014 7:08 PM

Senator “None of the Above?” N.H. Weighs Giving Ballot Option to Vote…for Nobody.

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Voters casting their ballots on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images

The good people of New Hampshire are known to have a bit of an ornery streak when it comes to voting. Part of their ballot-box reputation perhaps stems from the state’s “Live Free or Die” motto, but the state’s first primary status also contributes to its role as the country's political diva. So, it makes some sense that the state is weighing a bill that would give New Hampshire voters a chance to express themselves a bit more specifically by placing a “none of the above” option on the state’s ballots.

Having the choice not-to-choose is worth having for the state’s voters even though getting it passed is a long shot, according to the backers of the bill. “Real choice means people have to be able to withhold their consent,” state legislator Charles Weed told the Associated Press. But, even some supporters of the idea acknowledge it would be “humiliating for a candidate to be defeated by no one rather than an actual opponent,” the AP reports.

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“It’s hard enough to lose to an opponent. It’s doubly hard to lose to nobody,” Rep. Douglas Ley told the AP. “We have tender egos. It’s one of the reasons why I think it’s been opposed, but no one will ever say that.” Under the bill, if “none of the above” came out on top of the poor souls who were actually above, a special election would be held.

If New Hampshire decides to allow “none of the above” to run, the state would be the second in the country to have the option to vote for nobody. Nevada is currently the only state that gives voters that option. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court, refused an appeal by Republicans in the state trying to remove the “none of the above” option, the AP reports.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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