Should we allow votes for RON (re-open nominations)?

Allow votes for RON?

Allow votes for RON?

It seems the public disaffection with politicians is at an all time low. The democractic process has been hurt with expenses scandals and others. Reading the MSE forums and my Facebook page, any mention of the election seems to result in a “they’re all the same I don’t want any of them”, so is it time we added RON to our ballot papers?…

Back in my student politics days RON was always on the ballot paper, it stands for re-open nominations and means that you can make an active decision to select ‘none of the above’. If RON won it meant none of the candidates were elected and the post needed to be recontested.

I’m not anti-politician – I’m pro-voting.

Now just to clarify I’m not part of the “they’re all the same” brigade (see I’m happy with 1st class travel at a 1st class price blog), I will be voting in the election.  

We have a commitment towards universal suffrage, it’s important, and we shouldn’t belittle it. It’s for this reason that I think even if you can’t bring yourself to vote for any of your slate of candidates, it’s still important to go to the ballot box and if you have to spoil your paper (put a big line through it) at least that way registering a protest.

The worry is RON might win

In many ways RON is a more elegant solution than spoiling your ballot to protest, and it actually allows people who disapprove of all candidates to register that and have it counted.

Yet the obvious worry here is if we put RON in the election, we could find it winning a large number of seats – that’d scupper the democratic process meaning there’s no Government and costing a fortune at having votes again.

That’s why perhaps I’m more minded to support RON LITE – where it takes over 50% of voters in a constituency to put it as their lead option for RON to win.  Therefore even if RON received the biggest vote it wouldn’t automatically operate (though it’d be a helluva warning to the winning candidate to get themselves together).

And  if the constituency slate is one many people object to  (e.g. a seat historically dominated by one party, but where that party’s candidate  was discredited due to the election scandal) there would be a chance to reject.

What do you think?
Comment and Discuss

PS.  Obviously if we shifted to a constituency AV or STV system, RON could still be used, but what counts as RON LITE would need changing.