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Candidates can stand as none of the above option

Martin Stern (Write Back, March 3) argues a case for the electorate to have a "None of the Above" option on their ballot papers in case they cannot find any suitable candidate standing in the May general election.

He seems to have misunderstood the rules on the naming of political parties.

The Electoral Commission will not allow a "None of the Above" party candidate to stand. They will allow independent party candidates to stand, in which case it is possible for those candidates to merely change their names by deed poll to Mr or Mrs None of the Above X. This is what ex-boxer Terry March did in the 2010 election.

Their names will appear at the bottom of the list of candidates on the ballot papers as "Independent - Mr/Mrs None of the Above X".

If they did actually receive more votes than the other candidates standing in a particular constituency, this potentially could lead to the situation of several Independent MPs being elected, all with the very same name. In such an instance, they would not be debarred from standing, or lose their deposits, as Mr Stern suggests.


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Belfast Telegraph