NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A software developer running for governor and the U.S. Senate felt so strongly that voters should have “None of the Above” as a choice that he made it his middle name.
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The State Election Commission voted 5-0 to nix the middle name from the ballot.
Now, David “None of the Above” Gatchell is challenging the commission in court to get the words on the Nov. 7 ballot. “I feel so strongly about this and I knew that it should be my name,” he said. “That’s who I am.”
Gatchell, 58, ran as an independent in the 2002 governor’s race on the platform that Tennessee election ballots should include a “None of the Above” choice for voters who don’t care for any of the candidates.
Gatchell, who won 6 percent of the gubernatorial vote in 2002, decided in January that he would run for the two seats, and he’ll be listed in both races as an independent.
He changed his middle name from Leroy in August.
State law says the election commission can omit a portion of the name or require that further information about the candidate be included on the ballot if four or more members agree the name is confusing or misleading.
Gatchell argues that a number of state gubernatorial candidates are already allowed to include their nicknames and that his middle name has been widely reported by news media and is known across the Internet.
Nevada is the only state to offer a choice of “None of the Above,” and it first appeared in 1976. The option is nonbinding — it’s only to serve as a gauge of public opinion and could never win an election.
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