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The Personal Finance and Money moderator election is having its nomination period extended because there are only as many candidates as vacancies and they want to ensure a contested election.

While I think it's great to be looking for more candidates, S.E. could always guarantee a contest by including an extra option to indicate that a voter would prefer noone to be elected than any of the remaining choices. This option is typically called "None of the above" or "Reopen nominations" in elections where it is used. If it reached the threshold before enough candidates had been elected, then no further candidates would be chosen. The election could be rerun if necessary to get more moderators.

The current rules seem a bit artificial without this - it would for example be possible to have an election where all the candidates would be unwanted, as long as there's one more candidate than vacancy.

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    This seems largely reasonable, although I would be a bit concerned about the effect it might have on some candidates to lose to 'none'. It's much easier to stomach someone being better than you than being explicitly not qualified. I'm not sure that's enough reason to not do it - and for one I wouldn't really have a problem with it if that occurred for me, for example - but it's something to consider.
    – Joe
    Apr 27, 2015 at 21:55
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    I guess one challenge is that people might select "none of the above" if they have no opinion of the remaining candidates, rather than reserving this option for when they have a strong negative opinion of all remaining candidates. Maybe there is some clever phrasing that could prevent this potential confusion.
    – cag51
    Apr 7, 2021 at 0:56
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    @cag51 The phrase "Reopen nominations" is supposed to hint at that - it's sort of saying "I would prefer to reopen nominations than to elect any of the lower ranked candidates". Not sure which wording is best overall. Apr 7, 2021 at 6:26

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A recent election made me wonder why there was no RON option, which led me to find this 7 year old unanswered question.

Currently, if none of the candidates in an election are suitable, your only option is to refuse to vote, or pick the least worst candidate. Neither are good options, both seed disillusionment with the democratic process, and neither result in a fair and transparent election.

In non-digital voting systems, spoiling your ballot paper is often used as a way to show dissatisfaction with all of the candidates, but unless specifically implemented in a digital system, there is no way to express that.

Although this has only come up once for me in 13 years of using stack exchange, it feels like it is significant omission.

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