Tuesday, 7 June 2022

 Spoiled ballot papers v abstention.

A spoiled ballot paper: It will just be placed in a tray with the other spoiled ballots. No one will ever see what you wrote, other than the counters (briefly) and perhaps those who you rejected. When I've been at counts, the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems look at comments with statements like "none of them" and simply laugh arrogantly, rather than taking any notice of the sentiment.
Abstention: It shows a lack of support for the choices on your ballot paper, but also shows that you reject the system. Each spoiled ballot is a vote cast, but an abstention is a vote not cast. That is more powerful than spoiling.
Conclusion: Even if 90% of us did either though the 10% who didn't would still elect one of those on that ballot paper, sadly.
The law needs changing so that council seats that fail to attract 50% of the voter turnout are left vacant and new candidates and parties re-contest them until someone wins with a majority of the voters taking part. That's the only way that the old guard will sit up and take notice. The cost of elections and the chance that failing to get a 50% turnout the first time could open it up for a new party in a second ballot.
The same with spoiled papers. If the number of spoiled papers were higher than votes cast for candidates then the election should be null and void. Perhaps a "None of the Above" option.
The fact that there are no penalties for failing to attract people to vote is why the system carries on and why neither abstention or ballot spoiling are any kind of protest - because there are no consequences for the candidates standing in said election....
And compulsory voting would simply force people to vote for the lesser of the evils even more (to paper over the cracks).

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