None of the above

When you don't want to vote for either candidate, is it OK not to?

Many of us will be confronted by races on the ballot that for whatever reason we will find difficult to calculate. We don't like candidate D for some reason, but voting for candidate R is not the answer either. Should we just skip the question, like in the SATs?

No and Yes. There is a way to do so while still registering disatisfaction with the choice.

Skipping the race altogether on the ballot will register as indifference. Incumbents may look at these numbers for signs of weakness and challengers will look at them the next time around for signals of opportunity. But they are difficult to decifer. Was the voter unfamiliar with one or both of the candidates, was he confused about the office, was the race so far down on the ballot that he just gave up, or did he deem the office just too inconsequential?

The proper way to register disatisfaction with the choice of candidates is to fill in the arrow for a write-in candidate. But here's the trick, do not then write in a name. Leave it blank. A vote will be registered for that race, but not for either candidate. This will send a message to both winner and loser.

There are a couple of races on the ballot today that may warrent a other-write-in-no-vote, also known as none of the above

  • We will vote Deval Patrick for Governor, and none of the above in Ted Kennedy's race for US Senate.
  • We will vote Rob O'Leary for State Senate, but none of the above in Bill Delahunt's race for Congress.
  • Cleon Turner gets our vote for State Representative as does Matt Patrick and Aaron Malloy. But we will vote none of the above in Demetrius Atsalis' and Eric Turnkington's races. 
  • And we will vote Bill Doherty for County Commissioner and Carole Fiola for Governor's Council. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on