McGeorge School of Law

Proposition 23

Proposition 23:
"None of the Above" Ballot Option

By Lisa Wright

Copyright © 2000 by University of the McGeorge School of Law

JD, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
to be conferred 2001
B.A., Government, St Mary's College of California, 1998

 

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

General Description

Statutory Interpretation

Constitutional Issues

Policy Questions

Conclusion

 

Executive Summary

Introduction

Proposition 23 proposes a non-binding None of the Above ("NOTA") ballot option for California statewide elections. In general, special, primary, and recall elections, this ballot option would alter the California Elections Code to permit a voter to vote "None of the Above" rather than for a named candidate.

Proposition 23 proponents contend this as a reform measure intended to encourage disenchanted California voters to return to the polling booths. Proposition 23 opponents view the measure as one that will have no long-term residual effect, as it is a non-binding NOTA ballot option. Opponents support other reform measures, such as binding NOTA, proportional representation, public financing of elections, and the instant runoff, a scheme that allows voters to rank their choices. ("None of the Above" Ballot Option, Initiative Statute, California Voter Pamphlet, p. 56 (2000).)

Non-binding NOTA and Binding NOTA

There are two types of NOTA ballot options: the non-binding NOTA

and the binding NOTA. Proposition 23, if enacted by California voters, would create a non-binding NOTA ballot option. Non-binding NOTA votes act as protest votes and are tabulated as such for polling purposes. Therefore, even if plurality of the election votes are NOTA marked, the "flesh-and-blood" candidate who gets the plurality of actual candidate votes wins.

Alternatively, the binding NOTA option, upon a NOTA victory, requires a run-off election along with the dismissal of the losing candidates. Thus, the binding NOTA bars candidates with less than a majority of votes from winning in the face of the majority electorate voting NOTA.

Non-Binding NOTA History

Historically, NOTA initiatives were created in response to post-Watergate voter apathy. Nevada, the only state with a "None of these candidates" option for statewide offices and for presidential and vice-presidential races, implemented this option in 1976.

In 1976, then-Nevada Assemblyman Don Mello proposed a binding NOTA ballot option to the Nevada legislature. (Chris Black, The Political Revolution: How to Throw the Bums Out, Boston Globe, Oct. 28, 1990, at A29.) However, when it appeared that run-off elections would occur while the Nevada Legislature was out of session, the Legislature instead passed a non-binding ballot option. (Id.) Enacted into law as Nevada Statute § 293.269, it states that:

Every ballot upon which appears the names of candidates for any statewide office or for President and Vice President of the United States shall contain for each office an additional line equivalent to the lines on which the candidates’ names appear and placed at the end of the group of lines containing the names of the candidates for that office. Each additional line shall contain a square in which the voter may express his choice of that line in the same manner as he would express his choice of a candidate, and the line shall read ‘None of these candidates.’

(Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 293.269 (Michie 1998).)

Since its enactment in 1976, Nevada’s "None of these candidates" option has "won" six times. (Chris Black, The Political Revolution: How to Throw the Bums Out, Boston Globe, Oct. 28, 1990, at A29.) On one occasion, Nevada’s NOTA "won" the Democratic Congressional primary and in another election "won" the Republican Congressional primary. (Id.) Even more significant, in the 1980 Democratic Presidential primary, Nevada’s NOTA "ran a close second to President Jimmy Carter, who barely drew a third of the vote. The "none" vote beat Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who ran third." (Id.)

Nevada’s NOTA, even though non-binding, has had the effect of putting its candidates on notice. It has sent a message to Nevada’s candidates that the people of Nevada are frustrated with Tweedledee/Tweedledum options, with exorbitant campaign spending, and with mud-slinging campaigns. Non-binding NOTA is a way for Nevada voters to make a statement without abstaining from the entire voting process.

However, in a 1990 article, it was noted that only 58% of Nevada’s eligible voters were registered, and out of those 58%, only 37% voted in Nevada’s primary election. (Ellen Goodman, ‘None of the Above’ is Candidate for 90’s, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Oct. 15, 1990, at 3B.) These results express the reality that Nevada’s NOTA has had little or no effect on 1990’s politics. Ultimately, Nevada’s NOTA has not been successful in attracting new voters to the polls.

Therefore, although the non-binding NOTA is praised as a radical way to inform American politicians that they have ignored the collective populace, it cannot be espoused as a way to increase ever-decreasing voting numbers. Short-term effects, like small increases in voter participation, may be applauded, but in the long run, non-binding NOTA appears to have little reform effect.

General Description

Current State of the Law

The California Elections Code currently governs California’s election procedures. Pursuant to the Elections Code, when a voter casts a vote in general, special, primary and recall elections for President, Vice President, United States House of Representatives and Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner, Board of Equalization, State Assembly and State Senate, the voter is given the sole option of voting for a named candidate. To cast a vote, the voter stamps a cross in the square opposite to the name of the chosen candidate. In the case of California Supreme or Appellate court justices, and measures submitted to voters, the voter is given the option of marking a "Yes" or a "No" square.

Thus, within the current Elections Code the NOTA option doesn’t exist for voters voting in California’s general, special, primary, and recall elections. The California voter has only one option, and that is to vote for a named candidate and/or measure. The plurality or majority of votes tabulated to a named candidate or measure indicates voter approval. (Cal. Elec. Code §15450 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).)

Proposed Changes

As an election reform act, Proposition 23 would add one section to Division 0.5 and would amend nineteen sections of the California Elections Code. The proposed changes to Chapter 5, Section 400, Division 0.5 of the Elections Code, would alter statewide ballots to provide voters with a non-binding NOTA option as follows:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in all primary, general, special, and recall elections for President, Vice President, Member of the United States Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner, Member of the Board of Equalization, Member of the Assembly, and State Senator, voters shall be provided with the option of voting for "None of the Above" [rather than a named candidate]. [Votes for "None of the Above" shall be tallied and listed in official election results, but] [o]nly votes cast for named candidates … shall be counted in determining the selection of presidential electors or nomination or election of to any of the other specified federal and state offices …

(Voter Pamphlet, at 132.)

Additionally, the nineteen sections of the Elections Code that will be amended are: §§ 6480, 6620, 6821, 9035, 11322, 13204, 13205, 13208, 13210, 13211, 15059, 15060, 15101, 15102, 15251, 15309, 15310, 15501, and 15502.

Section 6480, which governs the format of the presidential portion of the Republican primary ballot, states: "In place of the heading: ‘FOR DELEGATES TO NATIONAL CONVENTION. Vote for One Group Only.’ shall appear the heading: ‘PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE. Vote for one.’" (Cal. Elec. Code § 6480 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) Section 6480 will be amended by Proposition 23 to read: "In place of the heading: ‘FOR DELEGATES TO NATIONAL CONVENTION. Vote for One Group or ‘None of the Above’ Only.’ shall appear the heading: ‘PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE. Vote for One or ‘None of the Above’.’" (Voter Pamphlet, at 132.)

Section 6620, which governs the format of the presidential primary election portion of the American Independent Party ballot, states: "In place of the heading ‘Delegates to National Convention, vote for one group only’ shall appear the heading ‘Presidential Preference, vote for one.’" (Cal. Elec. Code § 6620 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) Section 6620 will be amended by Proposition 23 to read: "In place of the heading ‘Delegates to National Convention, vote for one group or ‘None of the Above’ only’ shall appear the heading ‘Presidential Preference, vote for one or ‘None of the Above’.’" (Voter Pamphlet, at 132.)

Section 6821 governs the format of the presidential primary election portion of the Peace and Freedom Party ballot. (Cal. Elec. Code § 6821 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) Section 6821 will be amended to allow Peace and Freedom Party members to vote for their preferred presidential primary candidate or for NOTA. (Voter Pamphlet, at 132.)

Section 9035 procedurally governs how an initiative drafter must present his/her measure to the Secretary of State. Section 9035 presently states:

An initiative measure may be proposed by presenting to the Secretary of State a petition that sets forth the text of the proposed statute or amendment to the Constitution and is certified to have been signed by registered voters equal in number to 5 percent in the case of a statute, and 8 percent in the case of an amendment to the Constitution, of the voters for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election preceding the issuance of the title and summary for the initiative measure by the Attorney General.

(Cal. Elec. Code § 9035 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) This section will be amended to require that an amendment to the Constitution be certified to have been signed by registered voters equal in number to eight percent of the voters who voted for candidates and for NOTA. (Voter Pamphlet, at 132-33.)

Section 11322, governing all recall elections, except landowner voting district recall elections, allows a voter to vote for either a named candidate or a "write-in" candidate. (Cal. Elec. Code § 11322 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) If amended by Proposition 23, this section will also allow a voter to vote for NOTA. (Voter Pamphlet, at 133.)

Section 13204 governs ballot instructions to voters. (Cal. Elec. Code § 13204 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) Section 13204 will be amended to read:

If you do not choose to vote for any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Member of the United States Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Treasurer, Member of the Board of Equalization, Member of the Assembly, or State Senator, should any or all of these offices appear on the ballot, you may stamp a cross (+) in the voting square to the right of the phrase "None of the Above," or you may decline to vote with respect to that office.

(Voter Pamphlet, at 133.)

Section 13205 governs additional ballot instructions pertaining to both primary elections at which candidates for delegate to national convention are to be voted upon and in elections in which electors of President and Vice President of the United States are to be chosen. (Cal. Elec. Code § 13205 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) Amendments to this section will create additional voter instructions as to these groups of candidates and electors allowing a voter to decline to vote or to "stamp a cross (+) in the voting square to the right of the phrase ‘None of the Above’." (Voter Pamphlet, at 133.)

Section 13208 governs the creation of ballot voting squares. (Cal. Elec. Code § 13208 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) This section will be amended to provide in the case of all elections "a voting square after the phrase ‘None of the Above’." (Voter Pamphlet, at 133.)

Section 13210 requires that above every voting square, in the case of candidates for delegate to national convention, the words "Vote for one group only" be printed. In the case of candidates for President and Vice President, the words "Vote for One Party" shall be printed. (Cal. Elec. Code § 13210 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) This section will be amended to include the words "Vote for one group or ‘None of the Above’ only" and "Vote for One Party or ‘None of the Above’." (Voter Pamphlet, at 133.)

Section 13211 governs how the names of the candidates shall be printed on the ballot. (Cal. Elec. Code § 13211 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) This section will be amended to add how the phrase "None of the Above" shall be printed. (Voter Pamphlet, at 134.)

Section 15059 [see Chapter 3 for Proposition 23 drafting problems; section 15059 was repealed in 1998; drafters intended to amend section 15276] governs how precinct members shall tabulate votes cast for each person. This section shall be amended to include tabulation of NOTA votes. (Voter Pamphlet, at 134.)

Section 15060 [see Chapter 3 for Proposition 23 drafting problems; section 15060 was repealed in 1998; drafters intended to amend section 15277] governs how precinct members are to keep tally sheets. This section shall be amended to include NOTA votes on each tally sheet. (Voter Pamphlet, at 134.)

Section 15101, a section that Proposition 23 proposes to amend, was repealed in 1998. [see Chapter 3 for Proposition 23 drafting problems.]

Section 15102, a section that Proposition 23 proposes to amend, was repealed in 1998. [see Chapter 3 for Proposition 23 drafting problems.]

Section 15251, a section that Proposition 23 proposes to amend, was repealed in 1998. [see Chapter 3 for Proposition 23 drafting problems.]

Section 15309 [see Chapter 3 for Proposition 23 drafting problems; section 15309 was repealed in 1998; drafters intended to amend section 15374] governs the statement of results. As amended this section will include the number of votes cast for NOTA votes. (Voter Pamphlet, at 134.)

Section 15310 [see Chapter 3 for Proposition 23 drafting problems; section 15310 was repealed in 1998; drafters intended to amend section 15375] governs the sending of one complete copy of all returns from the elections officials to the Secretary of State by registered mail. As amended this section will include returns in regard to NOTA votes. (Voter Pamphlet, at 134.)

Section 15501 governs how the Secretary of State must compile election returns. (Cal. Elec. Code § 15501 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) If amended, this section will include a compilation in regard to NOTA votes. (Voter Pamphlet, at 134.)

Section 15502 governs how the Secretary of State must compile a supplement to the statement of vote. (Cal. Elec. Code § 15502 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) If amended, this section will include a compilation in regard to NOTA votes. (Voter Pamphlet, at 134-35.)

Statutory Interpretation

Proposition 23 proposes amendments to nineteen sections of the California Elections Code. However, seven of these code sections were repealed by the California Senate in 1998. The following sections were repealed:

Section’s 15059 and 15060 of the California Elections Code were repealed by Stats. 1998, c.1073 (S.B.627), §24.

Former section 15101 of the California Elections Code was repealed by Stats. 1998, c.1073 (S.B.627), § 24.

Former section 15102 of the California Elections Code was repealed by Stats. 1998, c.1073 (S.B.627), § 24.

Former section 15251 of the California Elections Code, added by Stats. 1994, c.920 (S.B.1547), §2, relating to transmittal of semiofficial returns, was repealed by Stats. 1998, c.1073 (S.B.627), § 29.

Sections 15309 and 15310 of the California Elections Code were repealed by Stats. 1998, c.1073 (S.B.627), §30.

Four of the repealed code sections, §§ 15059, 15060, 15309, and 15310, now respectively continue as §§ 15276, 15277, 15374, and 15375. Therefore, although the drafters of Proposition 23 overlooked these four statutory changes, there is no reason to believe that these drafting mistakes will affect the measure’s integrity. Sections 15276, 15277, 15374, and 15375 are identical or nearly identical to their repealed counterparts. Hence, the drafting problem can be corrected by replacing the four repealed sections with §§ 15276, 15277, 15374, and 15375.

As for the three other sections Proposition 23 intended to amend, §§ 15101, 15102, and 15251, Proposition 23 will need to be re-written and/or amended because the former sections are not identical to the current code sections.

Former Section 15101 reads:

(a) The elections official shall prepare and forward to each selected precinct forms containing a list of the offices and measures designated as being of more than ordinary interest, and stating the number of ballots to be counted for the snap tally. In each general election, the special form must, for each office listed on it, include the names of all candidates for that office whose names appear on the ballot. (b) The inspector at each selected precinct shall note the results of the count and the total number of votes cast in the precinct on the snap tally forms as soon as the designated number of ballots has been tallied. The inspector shall then communicate the figures in the manner directed by the elections official. In each general election, the figures must include the votes cast for every candidate whose name appears on the ballot for an office listed on the forms. The inspector shall continue, each time the designated number of ballots have been tallied, to note and report the results as directed.

(Cal. Elec. Code § 15101 (West 1996).) Proposition 23 drafters intended to amend § 15101 to include the designation NOTA. (See generally, Voter Pamphlet, at 55.)

Current § 15101 governs absentee ballot information and reads:

(a) Any jurisdiction in which absentee ballots are cast may begin to process absentee ballot return envelopes beginning 29 days before the election. Processing absentee ballot return envelopes may include verifying the voter’s signature on the absentee ballot return envelope and updating voter history records. (b) Any jurisdiction having the necessary computer capability may start to process absentee ballots includes opening absentee ballot return envelopes, removing ballots, duplicating any damaged ballots, and preparing the ballots to be machine read, or machine reading them, but under no circumstances may a vote count be accessed or released until 8 p.m. on the day of the election. All other jurisdiction shall start to process absentee ballots at 5 p.m. on the day before the election. (c) Results of any absentee ballot tabulation or count shall not be released prior to the close of the polls on the day of the election.

(Cal. Elec. Code § 15101 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) Therefore, because the drafters intended to amend a snap tally amendment, not an absentee ballot tabulation amendment, the Legislature will need to consider appropriate amendments.

Former Section 15102 reads:

Upon receipt from the precincts of the reports of votes cast on the specially designated offices and measures, the elections official shall tabulate the results and make the results available to the public. In each general election, all these reports of the election results shall include the votes cast for all candidates whose names appear on the ballot for each office for which returns are reported.

(Cal. Elec. Code § 15102 (West 1996).) Proposition 23 drafters intended to amend this section to include the tabulation of NOTA votes. (See generally, Voter Pamphlet, at 55.)

Current § 15102, however, now governs special counting boards and reads:

The official shall appoint a special counting board or boards in numbers that he or she deems adequate to count the absentee ballots. The official shall provide for the form of tally books and the distribution of the duties of the members of the canvassing board. When the tally is done by hand, there shall be no less than four persons for each office or proposition to be counted. One shall read from the ballot, the second shall keep watch for any error or improper vote, and the other two shall keep the tally.

(Cal. Elec. Code § 15102 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) Therefore, because the drafters intended to amend a snap tally amendment, not a special counting board amendment, the Legislature will need to consider an appropriate amendment.

Last, former § 15251 reads:

The elections official shall transmit the semiofficial returns to the Secretary of State in the manner and according to the schedule prescribed by the Secretary of State prior to each election, for:

(a) All candidates voted for statewide office.

(b) All candidates voted for the following offices:

(1) State Assembly.

(2) State Senate.

(3) Representative in Congress.

(4) Member of the State Board of Equalization.

(c) In presidential years, all persons voted for at the presidential primary or for electors of President and Vice President of the United States, depending on the election involved.

(d) Statewide ballot measures.

The elections official shall transmit the returns to the Secretary of State at intervals no greater than two hours, following commencement of the semiofficial canvass.

(Cal. Elec. Code § 15251 (West 1996).) Proposition 23 drafters intended to amend this section to include the transmittal of NOTA returns. (See generally, Voter Pamphlet, at 55.)

However, Section 15251 now reads: "Upon receipt of the result of votes cast from the precinct boards, the elections official shall compile and make available to the public the results so received as to the offices and measures." (Cal. Elec. Code § 15251 (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) Therefore, because the drafters intended to amend a semiofficial election returns amendment, they will need to re-draft this portion of their measure accordingly.

Constitutional Issues

Concerning elections, the Constitution of the United States indicates that "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof…" (U.S. Const. art. I, § 4, cl.1.) Specifically, article I, section 4, clause 1, grants constitutional power to the states to create their own electoral procedure, which thus includes the ability to add a NOTA ballot option. (Id.) Moreover, because Proposition 23 is nearly identical to Nevada’s own non-binding NOTA statute, which has never been constitutionally challenged, there is no reason to believe that Proposition 23 will suffer a judicially interpreted fate of being ruled an unconstitutional measure.

Pursuant to the United States Constitution, an initiative, such as Proposition 23, which proposes procedural changes to the California Elections Code, not substantive changes, is likely to be constitutional.

There do not appear to be any state constitutional issues raised by Proposition 23. The Legislature is given broad power to regulate elections within specified limits (Cal. Const. Art. II, §§ 3-7). Proposition 23 does not appear to be contrary to these provisions.

Policy Questions

 

Policy Arguments for Non-Binding NOTA

Statistically, 40-80 percent of eligible American voters do not exercise their voting rights. (Ralph Nader, From: In the Public Interest (visited Nov. 19, 1999) .) Thus, non-binding NOTA measures, such as Proposition 23, may be the much needed reform solution necessary to cure the reluctance to vote among potential voters.

Proponents of Proposition 23 believe the measure will do three things. First, it will "increase voter participation in elections." Second, it "will give voters a means to responsibly protest, and visibly express their dissatisfaction with, the choices offered on the ballot." Finally, it will "send politicians a message about voter anger over negative campaigns, the lack of meaningful choices among candidates and the inaccessibility of their elected representatives." (Voter Pamphlet, at 56.)

Non-binding NOTA has already impacted California. Proposition 23 qualified for the March 7, 2000 statewide primary with an overwhelming 650,000 signatures. (Press Releases: "None of the Above" California Ballot Initiative Qualifies for March 2000, July 20, 1999 (visited Nov. 19, 1999) .) Proponents needed only 461,003 signatures. (Cal. Elec. Code §§ 9030(f)(g) 9031(a) (West 1996 & Supp. 1999).) Clearly popular with registered voters, the Initiative has also attracted 60,000 eligible, but unregistered, voters to register anew. (Press Releases: "None of the Above" California Ballot Initiative Qualifies for March 2000, July 20, 1999 (visited Nov. 19, 1999) .) These 60,000 newly registered voters will unquestionably impact the March 7, 2000 statewide primary election. Therefore, non-binding NOTA’s sudden popularity and its potential for attracting new voters and bringing currently registered non-voters back to the polls is a promising reality.

Policy Arguments Against Non-Binding NOTA

Opponents of the non-binding NOTA concept see three problems with Proposition 23. First, the non-binding NOTA may result in an even smaller percentage of Californians electing California officials and choosing primary election candidates. For example, in an electoral race between named candidates 1, 2, and a non-binding NOTA option, a named candidate has the potential to win with a very small vote percentage. Namely, if candidate 1 receives 20% of the votes cast, candidate 2 receives 10% of the votes cast, but non-binding NOTA receives 70% of the votes cast, candidate 1 will still prevail. This result, allowing a 20% candidate to claim victory over a clear 80% majority dissent is unsettling and defeats the electoral purpose.

Second, the prospect of losing to a non-binding NOTA may result in greater campaign spending, "slicker" campaign ads, and "dirtier" campaign races. These are realistic possibilities if one considers what the American public cynically believes: politicians have large egos and are obsessively driven by the polls. Yet, the non-binding NOTA gives politicians another poll to use in their strategic arsenal.

Yearning for a greater victory at the polls, candidates will find it necessary to spend greater amounts of money on campaigning and publicity in an attempt to neutralize and lessen NOTA’s impact. The unhappy realization could be that instead of deterring negative and expensive campaigning, non-binding NOTA may help to produce it. In future elections, incumbents who may have "lost" to non-binding NOTA in previous elections may see the loss used and twisted against them by new opponents. Rather than focusing on the issues and the incumbent’s record, a non-binding NOTA ballot tally may become a rival office-seeker’s best friend.

Finally, as seen in Nevada, where voter turnout rates are just as low as national voter turnout rates, non-binding NOTA does not offer long-term reform. This may be due to the fact that ultimately it is in human nature to want to vote for a person, a named candidate, rather than for NOTA. As the non-binding NOTA seems to have been a fad in Nevada, so too could it suffer the same fate in California.

Alternative Reform Measures

Alternatively, a more long-term reform measure proposed by non-binding NOTA opponents is the binding NOTA. Binding NOTA proponents reject non-binding NOTA measures like Proposition 23 because the measures tend to focus on immediate gratification rather than on radical, far-reaching changes in the entire political process.

Binding NOTA proponents, such as Ralph Nader, support a binding NOTA for both its powerful short-term and long-term effects: "if NOTA obtains either a plurality or a majority of the votes cast, the election for that post would be cancelled or invalidated, along with the dismissal of the candidates, and a new election would be called. New candidates would have to be nominated (the NOTA-defeated candidates could not rerun in the new election)" (Ralph Nader, From: In the Public Interest (visited Nov. 19, 1999) .)

The reality is that a loss to a binding NOTA option would not only be embarrassing, but would disallow a candidate from re-running in that election’s run-off. Hence, the binding NOTA may have the effect of forcing candidates to become more responsive to the voters’ needs from the outset.

Conclusion

In conclusion, California, along with the rest of the nation, has suffered a decline in voter participation. Proposition 23 purports to be an answer to this epidemic. However, if Proposition 23 turns out to be a short-term answer, a fad, California will have done nothing more than waste a lot of good ballot paper. Thus, even though the March 2000 voter may find Proposition 23 an appealing measure, the voter may want to assess the likelihood of successful long-term reform effects before voting "yes" or "no."

Other alternative reform measures the voter could consider include: proportional representation, prudent campaign finance reform, limited terms (12 years and out), easier ballot access for candidates, and voter registration reform. Although these alternative measures place less emphasis on short-term goals, they do keep long-term aspirations in mind. Therefore, unlike the non-binding NOTA option, these measures have the potential of producing permanent political change.