In a recent column, I told you about the "None Of The Above" suggestions that readers have been advancing.
There are many variations on the NOTA theme, but the basic idea is to give people a chance to express disapproval of all the candidates on a ballot.
If "None Of The Above" were to get the highest number of votes, there would be obvious need for new candidates and a new election.
Ted Weiner of Germantown has an alternative proposal. He suggests that either one negative vote or one positive vote be permitted in each contest. People who have trouble deciding for whom to vote because they aren't very enthusiastic about any of the candidates might find it easier to vote against somebody.
As Ted explains it, "if a voter isn't crazy about Candidate X or Candidate Y but really dispises Candidate Z, he could cast a negative Z vote."
The negative vote for each candidate would be subtracted from the positive votes for that candidate then the contestant with the greatest number of net votes would be declared winner.
I like some aspects of Ted's plan, but one thing about it worries me. Under it, somebody might win the presidency with no votes.
Candidate A might get 15,000,000 positive votes and 15,000,001 negative votes, and therefore finish ahead of Candidate B, who had 15,000,000 positive votes and 15,000,002 negative votes. But both A and B could lose to an obscure third party candidate who voted for himself, whose ex-wife voted against him, and who was ignored by everybody else. Candidate Z would end up with zero votes -- and victory.
That's not an ideal way to select a president. But on the other hand, our present method doesn't always produce good results, either. What's a poorer voter to do?