Spoilt ballots / NONE - The results


National results from the 2015 election

Only 66% of registered voters voted, just 1% up on last time.  So should we offer our resignation?  We'll carry on and tell you what happened.

Full results are still incomplete…  Why the delay? See the blog.

Who won?

Silence.  The biggest winner in the election was silence: again a third of registered voters didn't vote.

The Conservative government was elected with the support of less than a quarter of registered voters.

Image alt text: UK 2015 General election results, as percentage of registered voters.  Silence was the real winner, as 34% did not vote. But the Conservatives won the election with votes with just 24% of registered voters. 20% voted Labour, 8.3% UKIP, 5.2% Lib Dem, 3.1% SNP, 2.5% Green 23% and 2.4% for other smaller parties.  Less than 1%voted NONE or spoilt their ballots.

(For an explanation of the chart, see The 'Unheard Third')

How many voted for NONE and otherwise spoilt their ballots?

In our figures so far, Spoilt ballots were the 13th largest category among the votes cast (Conservatives top, Labour next, etc.).  These spoilt ballots roughly equal the votes for two elected MPs.  More detail to come

An early report from Northern Ireland showed that spoilt ballots beat a candidate in eight constituencies.  In both Cumbria and in Buckingham the elected candidate addressed the significance of over 1,200 spoiled ballots in their acceptance speeches.

John Bercow addresses spoilt ballots after election victory.

Those two events have shown that when the number of spoilt ballots even begins to become significant, it demands a response.

However, across the UK and in every constituency, the level of silence is disappointing.  Democracy only enables change if people use their vote!  Without that, there's no evidence that people even want change.

Progress…  Will the votes for NONE and other spoilt ballots make a difference?

1) The clear votes for NONE, observed in the election counting, make the Electoral Commission's policy to classify protest votes as 'uncertain' indefensible.  That was our goal.  (See Making Protest Votes Count.)

The numbers of votes for None of the candidates, blank votes and other spoilt ballots vary widely across constituencies, from single numbers to over a thousand.  Total figures soon…

But even with less than a hundred in many, they will total over 50,000 nationally.  Those voters deserve a proper classification of their votes.

2) In David Cameron's constituency, the spoilt ballots beat the votes for six other candidates.  The same happened elsewhere, including in Tyrone, beating two candidates, and the other seven Northern Ireland constituencies (above) beating at least one candidate.

Yet in each constituency, and nationally, the BBC chose to report the votes for all candidates, and ignore the sometimes larger number of votes for None of the candidates.  That is surely now indefensible. 

We will therefore seek to campaign on those two issues.
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That penis vote…

A voter who drew a penis in the box opposite the name of Conservative MP Glyn Davies, presumaby intended it as a protest, or a comment on the MP.  But it was counted as a vote for him.

BBC report: 'MP thanks voter for penis ballot paper mark'

Err…  yes, the BBC will report a penis vote, but not report tens of thousands of votes that are clearly for None of the candidates.

And yes…  a UK Returning Officer can accept a penis drawing as a vote, yet is still advised by the Electoral Commission to classify the words 'None of the above' as uncertain.

Original declarations of results - and why the delay?

You can look at five examples of the original declarations by Returning Officers, including for David Cameron's constituency.

Media analyst Jonathan has so far tracked down all but 50 of the 650 of these.  To be amazed by why it takes so long, read his blog.

When he finds the declarations for the last few, we'll post the results here.

For example, we'll see whether the 6% who told the Harrow Times reader's poll that they planned to spoil their ballot, did so…

Don't be silent.   Vote for a candidate who you trust to work hard for things you believe in, or vote NONE in protest.