None of the Above news coverage 1994

Voters get to choose: Who's the fairest candidate of all? ; June primary rivals real beauty pageants
Byline: Lisa M. Krieger, The San Francisco Examiner
May 8, 1994

Americans pick their candidates, in part, the same way they shop for cars, cosmetics and cantaloupes, by appearance. In an age of declining party allegiance, when issues are increasingly complex, voters are judging candidates by one trait in which they have expertise: looks.
Now, for the first time in California history, they have help. The secretary of state's office, responding to voter comments that they wanted more information, mailed out the voter's guide for the June 7 primary a few days ago that feature photographs of statewide candidates, only a few balked at providing them.
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A Green Party candidate from Ukiah sports long hair and a wool cap.
Gubernatorial candidate John Selawsky rejected the photo idea, appropriately, he's urging Californians to vote for "None of the Above"

With malice toward the rest, voters choose 'none' fed up; 'none of the above won 46 percent of the Green Party vote.
Barry Witt, Mercury News Staff Writer, San Jose Mercury News
June 9, 1994

Californians won't be allowed to vote in November for one of Tuesday's gubernatorial primary victors -- although there is good reason to believe the candidacy would capture mass support if people somehow could be prodded toward the polls.
For the first time in U.S. history, "None of the Above" won a statewide election, beating three named candidates in the Green Party's primary. But state election rules don't allow for "None" -- the choice of 46 percent of Green Party voters and one that probably would be popular with the two-thirds of California's registered voters who ignored Tuesday's election altogether -- to be on the fall ballot.
The Green Party -- fighting for its members' right to say they want better choices -- won a court battle in 1992 for the right to include "None" as a choice in its primary elections.
"This is really going to do good for my ego annihilation program," said John Lewallen, 51, a Mendocino County seaweed harvester who finished in last place with slightly better than 16 percent of the 16,858 votes cast statewide for the Green candidates for governor. "I thought I was going to win."
Acting Secretary of State Tony Miller -- faced with what he called a "pathetic" turnout of just 32.9 percent of registered voters, a state record for voter indifference -- said the Green Party's experience "is a good illustration of (None's) potential."
Option for all voters
He wants state law changed to make it an option for all voters, not just the ones registered with the environmentally oriented Greens.
"It would give people a reason to go to the polls even if they didn't like the choices on the ballot, even if there was an incumbent with no challenger, with big name identification and a big treasury," said Miller, who won the Democratic primary to retain his own office on Tuesday and said he would not mind having to face a "None" choice someday.
Miller said he asked the chairmen of the Assembly and Senate elections committees earlier this year to consider introducing a law authorizing the change, "but politicians don't think this is such a great idea."
Despite its name, the "None" candidacy was not entirely anonymous.
Friends of Nobody
Joe Louis Hoffman, a Ukiah labor organizer and treasurer of the Friends of Nobody Committee, said he raised about $14,000 to send two mailers to Green voters statewide urging them to vote for "None."
Hoffman is one of a large number of Greens who believe running statewide candidates is foolish for a fledgling party.
"You'd think Green Party members would understand that things grow according to natural law," Hoffman said. "If we keep squandering resources and put people out there who look like losers, we'll never be in a position to do anything real." (Hoffman didn't campaign against Green candidates for two other offices -- lieutenant governor and secretary of state -- both of whom defeated "None" by 3-1 margins.)
A second source of "None" support came from liberals who fear a Green choice in November could siphon badly needed votes -- even if only a very small percentage -- from Democrat Kathleen Brown in her bid to unseat Gov. Pete Wilson, considered a Green Party nemesis.
'None' campaign
In fact, Bill Press, chairman of the California Democratic Party, was sufficiently concerned about voters having a choice on the political left that he sent a $500 check to Hoffman to help the "None" campaign.

Despite "None's" success on Tuesday and the public's clear lack of interest in the current crop of politicians, one bit of news will only depress those who see the choice as democracy's savior: According to preliminary figures, Green Party members turned out at an even lower rate than the rest of the public.

California Journal Weekly
June 20, 1994

  (Political action committees newly registered with the secretary of state's office)
  66th Assembly Club; Temecula ID: 941739
  Friends of Nobody; Hopland ID: 940543    Green Coalition Committee; San Francisco ID: 941655

California Dateline: Patt Morrison - Snapshots  of life in the Golden State

Los Angeles Times
June 24, 1994
Yes, we have no contenders: Everyone's dream candidate swept the top of the Green Party ticket in June, when "none of the above"--NOTA to its friends--bested three challengers, taking 46% of the Green vote for governor. "Nobody in the race earned people's votes, so people voted for nobody," says Joe Hoffman, campaign manager for "Friends of Nobody."
If by some fluke NOTA is elected, it can serve as governor of Erewhon--the imaginary satirical land in Samuel Butler's novel "Erewhon," being an anagram of "nowhere."

Up Front Umbrage

California Journal
July 1, 1994
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PAC of the Month: Honor goes to "Friends of Nobody," which qualified as a committee in late May and is located in Hopland, Mendocino County.  The "candidate" it backed?  "None of the above" on the Green Party gubernatorial ballot. Laugh ye not. Its candidate won.