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Not Apathetic

Tell the world why you're not voting - don't let your silence go unheard

They're not voting because...

spoiled paper is NOT 'none of the above...

spoiled paper is NOT 'none of the above'
I have been looking into the spoiled paper is 'none of the above'
Googling around showed lots of people believe this but it is not true.
There is a good link on the bbc to how the count is done

I then wrote to my MP for clarification.

I asked the following question

"I have been told that spoiled ballot papers are counted and act as a
vote for 'none of the above' whereas not voting is effectively 'any of
the above'. If enough spoiled papers were submitted, the election
would have to be re-run.

Is this true?"

The reply came:

"The returning officer at our election details the number of votes cast
for each candidate and the number of papers rejected, both in total and
in each of the categories for rejection.

A ballot paper can be rejected for the following reasons - voting for
more than one candidate, writing or a mark by which the voter could be
identified, unmarked or void for uncertainty. There is no seperate
category for spoilt ballots and thus the scenario you propose could not happen"

Hence spoiling your paper is the same as not voting (except that it wastes the counters time).
The net result is not voting or spoinling your paper actually means 'Any of the above'

Vote for the party closest to your views rather than the party you think will win unless you really feel that any of them are good enough to represent you.

written 9th Apr 2005


Chris replies: I don't think that there's ever been an election in which the number of spoiled ballots exceeded the number cast for the winning candidate. While, as you say, there would be no automatic byelection in such a case, the MP would probably be a national laughing stock and, hopefully, too chastened to do anything foolish.

written 10th Apr 2005

Andrew replies: After the last election I wondered about this and sent an email off to the electoral commission. They replied saying that spoiled ballot papers are not counted towards turnout.

So unless you have someone waiting at every count with a calculator in hand to work out the real turnout, spoiling your ballot is a waste of time.

written 12th Apr 2005

About Not Apathetic

NotApathetic was built so that people who are planning not to vote in the UK General Election on May 5th can tell the world why. We won't try to persuade you that voting is a good or a bad idea - we're just here to record and share your explanations. Whether ideological, practical or other, any reason will do.

A lot of users would like us to mention that if you spoil your ballot paper, it will be counted. So if you want to record a vote for "none of the above", you can.