I’m getting a lot of milage out of this image.

The Hugo Awards are a fan-voted series of awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy writers and fans.

They use ranked-choice voting.

(Which I discussed in No Spoilers: Ranked Choice Voting, and which I’ll be abbreviating below to “RCV” when I remember to.)

This means that, as a participating fan, when you fill out your ballot you rank the nominees in the order in which you think they deserve the award.

It’s a well though-out system and, since it’s mostly online, is easy to manage and does not overwhelm anyone with the complexity of the system (which is frankly a red-herring complaint about ranked-choice voting).

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.

The Hugos have a very interesting tweak to their rankings.

There’s an option in each category for “No Award”, and you can rank nominees below that.

And vote-counting stops when “No Award” is reached, meaning that any nominee with fewer votes than that cannot win.

That’s awesome.

It means that the voters have a mechanism to say, “none of these deserve it”.

(And they use it, too: in some years, “No Award” has taken several categories; the Hugos gave out no awards in those categories then.)

We need this in political elections.

Well, first we need to fully adopt RCV for any elections that are choosing a single winner. Obviously.

But as we do that we need to make sure that we include a “No Winner” option.

What to do if “No Winner” wins is an interesting question.

Some attractive possibilities are:

  • proceed with the electoral office empty for a term
  • re-run the election with the losing candidates barred from competing
  • automatically call a Constitutional Convention on the desirability of that office

You can probably come up with some other variations too.

That’d be great.

I favor a mixed result where the election is re-run with different candidates, but if “No Winner” wins that second election then automatically calling a Constitutional Convention.

I vote in every election now, mainly because I’ve accepted that it’s important to vote against some candidates rather than waiting for a candidate I’d actually want to vote for, but when I was younger I refused to vote in elections where I didn’t support any of the candidates.

This would have given me something to vote for every time.

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