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My Turn: ‘None of the above’ is a sensible ballot option

A bill being considered by the New Hampshire House Elections Committee received some press attention when it was introduced but now deserves a spotlight since it is drawing opposition from the League of Women Voters. As a poll worker my perspective is that the League should be urging its passage, not opposing it.

HB 1225 would add “none of the above” as a choice on New Hampshire ballots. The League’s co-president Liz Tentarelli has said, “ ‘None of the above’ is not a very effective thing; we think it’s an easy out.”

Even if it is an easy out, it would be such a time-saver for the people assigned to count write-in ballots at the close of elections – and it would yield an exact number of protest votes.

I am one of those people who for a dozen years or more has reported for duty when the polls close in Alton. The moderator has asked me and several others to assist him in tallying the election results. It never fails that there is a pile of paper ballots that the optical scanner has sorted into a separate bin because they contain write-in votes. When these ballots are examined, we frequently find almost half a dozen write-ins for Mickey Mouse, an occasional Donald Duck and Pluto. One voter wanted a candidate with a higher I.Q. than Mickey Mouse so we found a vote for Prince Valiant.

My point, of course, is that if “none of the above” was an option to vote for, we would not have to count the protest votes by hand. The optical scanner would print out the number of protest votes.

Simple. Efficient. And more of a headline-grabber that for such-and-such an office the voters were so dissatisfied with all of the contestants that “None of the Above” was the winner!

I hope the League will reconsider its opposition.

(Bob Longabaugh lives in Alton Bay.)

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