Besides, Nevada, in United States, having the option to vote none of the above (NOTA) are there any other places in the world that allow for voters to tick NOTA?

If this is the case, are there any studies on the effect of having such an option? Did it increase voter turnout?

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    Do you make a distinction between voting blank and voting "none of the above"? I think many countries have the ability to vote blank (at least all three countries in which I've ever participated in elections did) without the vote being invalid.
    – gerrit
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 12:40
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    @gerrit I believe there is potentially a difference between voting for no one, and voting for "none of the above" - in that a blank vote is usually discounted as "I don't care" or "I don't know", whereas a vote for "none of the above" means "I do not agree to any of the above candidates representing me"... If this is the case Sven is getting at, what would happen if "none" gained the majority of the vote? Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 13:36
  • Generally in an election somebody needs to win; the system doesn't have the option of saying "well, there's no consensus, so the previously elected people will just stay on and we'll try again in a few years". Somebody has to be selected, so voting for nobody is equivalent to not voting Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 16:29
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    wrong, you could imagine having a quorum you need to pass before getting elected, abstention is normally not counted towards the quorum, but NOTA would be, this is why it is an interesting question. And who says you need to wait years before having the next election? Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 21:51

4 Answers 4


NOTA in Nevada is non-binding: the highest placed candidate gets the seat

Votos en blanco in Colombia is binding: elections are re-run if over 50%

Declined ballots in some provinces in Canada are non-binding but three provinces publish the official stats in election results

NOTA in Russia was binding but this has been removed from legislation.

Vote blanc in france is non binding

Votos en blanco in spain is non binding but stats are published

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    It has been shown in nevada to have no effect on turnout but this may be because it is non binding. A binding form may have more effect.
    – Neil
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 20:27
  • "Voto em blanco", "Vote Blanc" and "Votos em Branco" - aren't the same as "None of the Above". Those are more like "Blank vote", and are usually interpreted as "whatever the majority decides I'm okay with", and not as "I don't want any of those".
    – T. Sar
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 12:58

There are several different "none of these" options that have been implemented. Many of them are only implemented in private elections (as distinct from public elections; e.g. elections within unions or student elections or internal elections in political parties).

One is "Re-Open Nominations" (aka RON). If elected, then the nominations have to be re-opened and then the election re-run. Sometimes, those nominated the first time are ineligible to be nominated again.

A second possible result is to create a casual vacancy (as if the elected person had died in office), which is then filled by the normal mechanism for filling a vacancy. If that normal mechanism is a by-election (US: special election) then this is effectively the same as RON*. But it may not be; for instance US Senators are elected, but vacancies are filled with appointment by the state's governor; the President is elected, but a vacancy is filled by the Vice-President; VP vacancies are filled by Presidential appointment and confirmation by both Houses of Congress.

A third possible result is that the office will sit unfilled for one term and its powers cannot be exercised for that term. This is more common with elections to committees or parliaments than for executive office - the parliament is just one member short for a few years.

In a primary election, the result of NOTA winning is usually that that party will not contest the election. In primaries that are closed, especially ones that are narrowly closed (like US caucuses, or French-style primaries that are only open to dues-paying members), the option not to contest the election may be used to concentrate the party's resources on particular elections.

* There may be technical differences between a by-election and a rerun of the normal election. For example, in the UK, the expenditure limits are higher for by-elections than for re-run elections. In the US, different rules may apply for primary elections for a special election than apply for a general election, and not all states have rules for a rerun general election at all (reruns can apply if, for example, a candidate dies too late for their name to be removed from ballots, as well as for a victory by NOTA/RON).


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/None_of_the_above has some examples:

Greece (λευκό, white, but unrelated to a political party of the similarly sounding name-however it is symbolic only), the U.S. state of Nevada (None of These Candidates), Ukraine (Проти всіх), Spain (voto en blanco), and Colombia (voto en blanco). Russia had such an option on its ballots (Против всех) until it was abolished in 2006. Bangladesh introduced this option (না ভোট) in 2008.

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    This is not a complete answer. It appears the original poster was more interested in the potential political effect of the NOTA offering. To just post links that inform, but do not answer the question, stick to comments on the question. Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 3:07
  • in effect, I'm more interested in the effects than in the list of things answer where such a system has been implemented before, I just felt it necessary to include it in the question to make it complete Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 21:51

Election Commission of India, introduced the option "None of the above" (or NOTA) in the year 2009 and by the order of the Supreme Court of India in 2013, it became mandatory to be present in all forms of public election.

Since 2013, it has been observed, that in Indian elections it has been gaining traction a lot, and according to Wikipedia, it has been observed it has influenced in increasing the participation in elections. Though it has not gained a majority of votes in any of the elections, there are quite a few examples, where it has got enough votes to swing the election results if it wouldn't have been there. For example, the number of votes NOTA, if hypothetically, all those votes would have gone to another candidate, the result would have been in his/her favour.

According to clarification given by Election Commission, even if the NOTA gets the highest number of votes, the candidate scoring the highest number of votes excluding the NOTA would be considered winner, but still, NOTA has enabled people to raise their voice, that they don't approve any current candidate contesting elections and hence might compel all the parties to field a better candidate

More can be read by Performance of NOTA on Wikipedia

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