2019 EU Elections: What do spoilt ballots tell us?

3 Responses

  1. Voting Counts says:

    Why do you think the number of spoilt ballots increased in some areas?
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  2. At the London count I observed, over 70% of spoilt ballot papers were in the category for voting more than once. A huge number of these were people voting for both a party and an independent.

    (London had 10 parties and 11 independents standing, producing an extremely unwieldy ballot paper.)

    It may be the case that many of these voters thought they could/had to pick both a party and a person.

    Having observed many counts over the last ten years, my instinct is that the single biggest cause of blank/spoilt ballot papers are when more than one election takes place at the same time. A lot of blanks are cast, either by voters who turned out for one contest with no interest in others (the 2014 higher figures for London were probably this effect, particularly in boroughs like Tower Hamlets that had big turnouts for significant local parties in the council elections that did not stand for Europe) or who seem to think they can only make one choice across the whole set they’re given. There can also be a lot of over voting when the different ballot papers use different systems – many spoils seem to be cast by people who’ve only read one set. The Supplementary Vote used for directly-elected mayors and police & crime commissioners brings additional problems because of the two column nature of the paper can confuse many, not helped by very few parties and candidates advocating second preferences let alone issuing How To Vote cards.

    “Huge numbers of blank/spoiled ballots can indicate to political parties that change in policy is needed to reconnect with these voters.”

    Blank papers don’t really tell anybody anything other than the paper is blank for whatever reason. Also the official category for “Unmarked or wholly void for uncertainty” is a catch-all category that takes in blanks, papers with messages on them, attempts to write-in a candidate not standing and cases where the voter’s intention isn’t clear (crosses wandering across two lines, ticks and crosses and so forth). I’m afraid the current system is not set up for using ballot papers to send messages – not every party is represented at the adjudication, the counting agents are more concerned with saving good votes and identifying where their own voters are messing up and their inclusion in the official results is treated as a formality that goes over a lot of heads.

  3. Ray says:

    The reason for spoilt paper this time is purely because both the Media and the government do not clerly understand the electorates vote to leave Europe. The original choice to leave or remain was black or white. There ought to have beenat least 3 options, Remain, Leave with a deal that suits the UK, or Leave with No Deal at all. As business is only interested in its profits naturally it would vote stay, small businesses only complain against the employment laws that cost them, but the public only see that the EU is only interested in making the UK pay, and do not believe that we get anything back at all in exchange. The fact that so many non English are draining the NHS and the jobs market for low paid workers, hate the facts that the EU will not offer a better deal, and that the government keeps on paying our money to the EU. Don’t wait and keep paying out. Leave immediately !, if that upsets Europe then TOUGH !. They can request a new deal if they need British products, services or goods. We can manage quite nicely from other sources. What is the point voting for EU reps and paying for the privilege when we want out. ? The only option is to spoil sufficient ballot papers to bring the message home.