A real choice for voters
After many years of voting, the current system remains upsetting when only one candidate is running unopposed. I have always refused to vote for candidates running unopposed and I'm not alone.
Case in point, these non-votes signify something, but what? Did the voters just decide there's no need to fill in the oval, or did they wish for an actual choice in the matter? Shouldn't voters have a choice at the polls to give an unopposed candidate a yea or nay?
I'm painfully aware that candidates are almost universally selected and financed by the parties. While I don't envision political parties disappearing any time soon, I do think there is a way to provide a real choice to the voters.
Each and every local election should include a line for “None of the Above” or a simple yes or nay oval when a candidate is unopposed. A plurality of votes cast for that line would require a new election with new candidates. And yes, it would entail the time and cost of a new election. But I think the uproar and publicity generated by public rejection of the preferred candidates would in short order result in better candidates. What party would want the notoriety of being beaten by “None of the Above”? Voters must be free to vote for or against any candidate on the ballot.
Simply said, an unopposed candidate should be elected by a majority of the voters by their yea or nay votes. It's not an election if someone wins by "default.”