Donald Trump(l), Ballot(c), Nikki Haley(r)

Consolidated News Photos/Shutterstock @Kash/Truth Aaron of L.A. Photography/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Trumpers are using a ballot quirk to try to crush Nikki Haley’s hope for a symbolic win in the Nevada primary

They don't want Haley to even get a Pyrrhic victory.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Jan 30, 2024

Nevada is the only state where voters can refuse to choose any of the listed candidates on a ballot by voting for “none of these candidates”—and former President Donald Trump’s supporters are pushing this ballot irregularity to try and tank former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s attempt to get a momentum boost by winning the Nevada primary.

In a Truth Social post on Saturday, former Trump Department of Defense official Kash Patel showed his mail-in ballot for Nevada’s primary elections on Feb. 6. The ballot lists seven candidates for the Republican presidential nomination—including Haley and candidates that have since dropped out of the race, but not Trump—and the option to vote for “none of these candidates.

Patel marked “none of these candidates” and told his followers to “vote like [he] did.”

Patel’s voting strategy is possible because of two electoral anomalies that are playing out in Nevada’s primary elections. First, though Trump and Haley are still competing for the Republican presidential nomination, they aren’t actually going up against each other in Nevada.

Haley is competing in Nevada’s presidential primary election, which candidates were given the chance to opt in o in October. However, the Nevada Republican party decided that it wouldn’t reward the winner of the primary with any of its delegates—it decided to spite the state and hold a presidential caucus as well. Trump will be competing (uncontested) in the caucus.

Voters are allowed to participate in both.

But even though Haley isn’t up for anything by potentially winning the primary election, Trump supporters still want her to lose that, too.

That’s where Nevada’s “none of these candidates” ballots option comes in.

Unlike every other state, Nevada voters are able to vote for “none of these candidates” if they don’t want to cast their vote in support of any of the listed candidates. The defiant option was added to Nevada elections in 1975 to increase voter participation and allow voters an opportunity to express frustration with their choices.

“None of these candidates” has even won a few primary elections according to PBS Newshour—so Trumpers excited about the possibility might have a chance at getting that to win.

Patel isn’t alone in his push for “none of these candidates” on the Nevada primary ballot: Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) told the Nevada Independent on Jan. 18 that he will caucus for Trump and vote “none of these candidates” in the state’s primary. Lombardo also told the outlet that “the race is over,” and Trump is the best candidate.

Some Nevada Republicans also posted on Truth Social that they’ll be voting “none of these candidates” come Tuesday.

Others have said they are taking even more extreme measures: not submitting their mail in ballot at all.

“I’m not turning in the primary ballot,” a Douglas County, Nevada voter shared on Truth Social. “I’m filing it away so they can’t switch my vote from none of these candidates to [Haley].”

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*First Published: Jan 30, 2024, 3:23 pm CST