4 May 2017

How to spoil your ballot paper, in one easy lesson...

Having been to a few election counts myself and been a counting agent on one of them, it is clear that the act of spoiling your ballot paper is not as futile as many people think.

Candidates and agents are shown these papers towards the end of the proceedings, so they get to see what is written on them, and some are accepted as perfectly valid votes. If your intention is clear, your spoilt ballot may still count. It doesn't necessarily have to be an X on the ballot paper either. I have seen O's and wiggly lines accepted, if they are in the right place and the intention is clear.

Best of all, every spoilt ballot paper delays the proceedings, which is the last thing everybody wants at 4am in the morning...

So with the Hampshire County Council elections happening today, and none of the candidates really representing me, that's what I decided to do on this occasion. Spoil my ballot.

What I did was write a few (3-5) words of explanation under the names of the candidates I didn't like, being very careful not to stray into the space reserved for the X. For the candidate that I thought was the lesser of the evils, I drew a cock where the X should go.

So that creates the potential for an argument over that ballot paper tonight, over whether my intention was to vote for UKIP or not.

And if my vote isn't counted, it doesn't actually matter too much.

None of the candidates really represent me anyway.

And they will have had some feedback as to why...