None of the Above: Party an alternative for student voters who don’t like traditional candidates

Benjamin Yang and Steven Paradise lead the None of the Above. The candidates chose their party name to represent the students that care about the election, but don’t like the traditional candidates that run every year.

“We are a voice for those students who are disillusioned by the homogeneity within the elections. By voting for a party like us, they express their disapproval without having their voices drowned out by the majority of students who do not care to vote,” Yang said.

Yang and Paradise say they run out of service. They work to get students involved in enjoying the elections.

“We should be serving the majority of the students who do not vote, not just the ones who talk to us,” Yang said.

This will be the fourth year the two have run for office. The duo employs a platform to uncover issues of concern among students for all the candidates to know. Winning is secondary.

“Most candidates wait until they are elected before they start serving students. We’re starting right now,” Yang said.

The party also runs to prove that a multi-thousand dollar budget in sponsorships is not necessary to win. Last year the party ran as the Space Monkey Mafia, winning 11 percent of the votes on $60. Yang and Paradise won 9.2 votes per dollar, more than any other party.

“If we spent as much money as a regular campaign, we would win the mayor race for Salt Lake City,” Yang said.

Yang and Paradise are both graduate students in electrical engineering. Both served as leaders to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a group that has expanded under their watch.

Yang served as the president of Golden Key, a community service organization that includes such honorary members as Jon Huntsman, Jim Matheson and Larry H. Miller.

Two years ago, Yang and Paradise were so pleased about “ticking” enough people off with the ASUU sucks campaign that roughly 15 percent of their posters were vandalized or stolen.

After four years of running, the two candidates are still grievance-free.

Yang speaks fluent Mandarin while Paradise can speak fluent “hoosier” and Pig Latin. Both are proud to say that they don’t live with their parents anymore.

Yang is engaged and Paradise is married.

“We continue to run because the elections continue to be a game and a joke. We run because 80 percent of the students that don’t vote deserve some representation,” Yang said. “We run because the day we win will be the day victorious campaigns are based not on party-size or financial backing, but on content and the character of the candidate. We lose because that has not happened yet.”

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