What is Negative Vote

NegativeVote can improve all democracies in the world.


Taiwancan lead the world in improving democracy and prospect for peace.


By doing what?

Adopt Negative Vote in elections.


What is Negative Vote?

The concept is simple but not yet practiced in any democracy in the world.


In an election, you can vote for a candidate of your choice. But what if you do not like any of the candidates? The only choice you have today is to sit at home and not go to the polls or cast an invalid vote as protest.


"NegativeVote" is a vote cast against a candidate, and it will be counted against the positive votes cast for that candidate. The candidate who receives the most net positive votes wins. Each voter still has only one vote. He/she has the option to cast that vote for a candidate or against a candidate but not both.


Why and how would Negative Vote improve democracy and world peace?


There are three fundamental reasons why Negative Vote should be adopted.

First, Negative Vote should be a basic right.

As a voter, I should have the right to use my ballot to say: "I do not wish this person to become my leader." Not allowing people to vote No is undemocratic. It is a defect of current election systems and it needs to be fixed.


To illustrate this concept further, let's consider the scenario where there is only one candidate. Should I only have the option to vote for that candidate but not against? The answer is obvious: I should have the right to say "NO". If I am only allowed to vote "YES", you would think I am living in North Korea.


Extend this scenario to two candidates: should I be told that I must vote for either one? Who guarantees that either one would be a suitable leader, even if each is nominated by a major political party? If I do not like either one, as an individual voter I should have the right to cast my only vote against the one I despise the most. The voters collectively should have the right to reject both. Same applies to three or more candidates.


Second, if Negative Vote is adopted, voter participation will increase.

By definition, an increase in voter participation would be an improvement for democracy. With more voters participating, the result would more accurately reflect the people's will. In today's system where we only have the choice to say "YES", the winner often proudly proclaims he/she has the "popular mandate" when the reality is far from that: many voters did not vote, many voters voted reluctantly for the "lesser of two evils", the "NO" voices were not heard at all. If Negative Vote is adopted, the winner will see clearly that he is not elected by a majority of the population(i.e. no overwhelming mandate) and there were some voters who chose to vote against him. The winner might become more humble, less arrogant in governing.


Third, Negative Vote will reduce extremists' influence.

NegativeVotes are more likely cast by the middle electorate against extremist candidates. Extreme rhetoric will therefore reduce over time. A society will become more harmonious internally and less likely to go to war against its neighbors.

Negative Vote will therefore enhance harmony and world peace.


One person who had considered Negative Vote concept carefully also stated why he liked this idea: "For some voters, it might be difficult to discern which candidate is good, but easier to discern which one is bad, Negative Vote will help such voter make a choice."


InTaiwan, there are two additional reasons to support the NegativeVote.


  1. If Negative Vote is adopted in Taiwan, public funds given to the candidates individually(NT$30 per vote) and their political parties(annually) will be reduced. Under the current system where we can only vote "YES", we find our tax money going to the candidates even if we do not support any of them, because we cannot vote "NO". If Negative Vote is adopted, such tax dollars can be saved for other worthwhile public expenditures that really serve ALLthe citizens.

  2. It is common knowledge that illegal vote-buying is still rampant during elections in Taiwan. "Negative Vote" will be very difficult to purchase. Overtime it will dilute the effectiveness of vote buying and render it obsolete.


How do we adopt Negative Vote in Taiwan?

Laws governing elections need to be changed. It is highly doubtful that established politicians and political parties who have vested interest will be willing to adopt such a fundamental change. We cannot count on the Legislative Yuan to adopt this change voluntarily. In Taiwan, we will need to make this change through  a plebiscite or gather enough public support to impress the Legislative Yuan to adopt the change. A group of like-minded individuals have therefore decided to form an organization "Negative Vote Association" to push for legislative change in Taiwan.


How do we accomplish this through a plebiscite in Taiwan?

The laws require at least a quarter of the eligible voters must participate. In practice, that means the plebiscite needs to be tied to a general election in order to have enough voters participate.That would also save taxpayers' money. Before that, it is necessary to collect 281,745 qualified signatures (the legal minimum requirement is 1.5% of the eligible voters in the last Presidential election) to get the Negative Vote issue voted for approval or disapproval. The next election will be in  November 24, 2018. We have started the petition drive in February 2018 and are optimistic that we might succeed this year. 

What can, or should I do?

  1. Do nothing, just stand by idly and perhaps even laugh at these fools taking on such an "impossible" challenge. If you belong to this category, you would not be alone.


  1. When the matter is brought to a vote in 2018,  vote against its adoption because you do not like it. If you are in this category, we would like to hear what your concerns and objections are, so that revisions of laws can take these concernsconsideration. Some of the concerns we have heard so far include the following:


Q : What if the result of the election produces a leader whose overall positive vote is very small?


A: One fine-tuning might be setting a minimum threshold of the gross positive votes that the winner must have. For example, we might want to set the threshold at 5%, i.e. the winner must have won at least 5%of the total votes cast, in addition to having the higher net positive votes. Our laws already stipulate that a candidate must have 5% votes to obtain public subsidies, so 5% seems to be a reasonable threshold. On the other hand, if you take time to study the elections laws carefully, you will find that there are already many thresholds. It should not be necessary to establish new thresholds.

Q : What if all the candidates receive more Negative Votes than positive votes?


A: In that case, the will of the people is very clear. The election should be re-held and these candidates should be barred from participation as candidates again in the next round. An often heard follow-on question is: Would not this result in very high social cost? Answer: If the winner of an election is someone who would otherwise not win when there is negative vote, isn't the social cost much higher?


Q : Would not Negative Vote bring out even more negative campaign during elections?


A: Negative campaign already exists. It will not necessarily increase or decrease because the voters have the choice to cast a NegativeVote. You might think it will increase but we think it will decrease because the middle-electorate will use their ballots to show their objection to candidates who use smear tactics.


Q : Would not Negative Vote be used by the major parties to allocate votes and shut out a small party candidate?


A: In Taiwan, Negative Vote will bring out many voters in the middle who are sick and tired of the two major parties and their collusion to benefit themselves in the Legislative Yuan. The Negative Votes they cast will be cast mainly against candidates from these two parties who are the most extreme. If a small party representative has behaved honorably and does not engage in smear tactics during election campaign, he/she will not attract this kind of NegativeVotes. If the two major parties engage in vote allocation, the small parties will benefit also under present conditions. Every voter that can be directed to vote Yes or No must be someone who is very loyalto that party. Each Negative Vote so directed against someone would also mean that party's candidate has one fewer vote of support(because every voter has only one vote).


Q : Should not this be tried in other more advanced democracies first?


A: Why should Taiwan follow and not lead? We are in Taiwan and we believe Taiwan can make a contribution to lead the world in this effort to improve democracy.



3.When the issue is brought to a vote in 2016, vote for its adoption.


Ifyou are in this category, welcome. We sincerely hope you would also be willing to do more to help make this revolutionary change a reality. The following suggestions, listed in progressively more commitment of time and energy, might be useful:


    1. Sign petition as one of the 281,745 needed to get Negative Vote issue accepted for plebiscite

    2. Encourage friends and relatives to sign petition

    3. Actively participate in the promotion and solicitation of people to sign petition

    4. Actively participate in the promotion and dissemination of the Negative Voteconcept.

    5. Joinour group as one of the volunteers.

    6. Helprecruit other volunteers

    7. Helprecruit celebrities to support Negative Vote, especially thosecelebrities who have a good public image, and have no clearpolitical affiliation, for example: 江蕙,孫越, 李安AnLee, Jeremy Lin, 林志玲..etc.


Ourgroup is committed to making this fundamental change a reality inTaiwan. We believe it improves democracy and harmony in Taiwan. Webelieve Taiwan can lead the world in adopting this fundamentalchange. We hope you will join us in this effort. Our group is inthe formative stage and will soon start a dedicated website.

www.NegativeVote.org(under construction).

Inthe meantime, you can find us on Facebook:



References to the concept of Negative Vote:

  1. Boehm,G.A.W. (1976): One fervent vote against Wintergreen. Mimeograph.

  2. Brams,S.J. (1977): When is it advantageous to cast a negative vote? In:Mathematical Economics and Game Theory: Essays in Honor of OscarMorgenstern (R. Henn, O. Moeschlin, eds.). Springer, Berlin, pp.564–572.

  3. Felsenthal,D.S. (1989): On combining approval with disapproval voting.Behavioral Science 34, 56–70.

  4. Daniel Ferguson & Theodore Lowi (2001): Reforming American Electoral Politics: Let's Take"No" for an Answer, 34 PS: Pol. Sci. &Pol. 277, 277

  5. 馮仁厚代表整理撰稿(2004),我們需要啟發「真善美」的選舉制度https://www.facebook.com/groups/NegativeVote/files/

  6. Jess Brewer,http://www.researchgate.net/post/Has_anyone_ever_tried_Negative_Votes


  1. Michael Kang(2010): Voting as veto, Michigan Law Review, Vol. 108, No. 7

  2. 公孫策(UnitedDaily News, Jan. 8, 2014): 去梯言/砸碎立法院連環套

  3. 陳冲(UnitedDaily News, Sept. 14, 2014): 我可以不喜歡你,才是快樂的民主



Revisedby Sam Chang, February 28, 2018.