Compulsory Voting and “None of the Above”
If there is one thing evident from elections at both State and Federal level over the past years, it is the crying need for a way for voters to cast a vote “None of the Above” on their ballot papers.
At present, major political parties derive benefits from compulsory voting almost entirely by default. It’s clear the electorate doesn’t think much of the way the major parties are behaving. And while smaller parties like the Greens might gain from this, they aren’t exactly practical alternatives in the mind of many of us. But compulsory preferential voting means somewhere you have to vote for them whether you like it or not.
In the meantime, party officials and hacks continue to be able to claim “victory” in situations where the parties they run only get votes because there’s nothing much on offer, and it’s actually (and stupidly) illegal to cast a deliberate informal vote. (The law is stupid because we do have secret ballot, so what’s going to be proven?)
The grand solution? A legal option, whether by write-in ballot or otherwise, that would permit a voter to express distrust of election choices by voting for “None of the Above”.
That legal vote should then be counted and listed separately from informal votes. It can serve as a signal to members of the various parties that something might be rotten in the state of Denmark. For MPs, it can serve as a confirmation or otherwise of the gut feeling they had during the election that all was not well. For party hacks in the back room, it is the ultimate performance indicator: your party may have won, but all it needs to unseat you is someone to pick up on the disillusion of the alienated voters.
It’s not going to happen, of course. It takes legislation to change the electoral laws.
So the answer is simple.
I’m contemplating starting a political party. It’s called the “None of the Above” party. Only two questions remain:
1. How to ensure preferences are distributed randomly.
2. What to do when elected in a landslide.
Anyone want to join ? Contributions (of ideas on 1. and 2. above) gratefully received.