Spoilt ballots / NONE - results from 2015

National results from the 2015 general election

  66% of registered voters voted, just 1% up on the 2010 election.

  The biggest winner in 2015 was an invisible silence.  A third of registered voters didn't vote (nearly 16 million!).

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

As always, democracy only enables change if people use their vote.  Without that, there's no evidence that people even want change.

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'
For the 2015 results in detail, see the links below.

How many voted for NONE and otherwise spoilt their ballots?

'Spoilt' or 'spoiled' ballots were reported to be the 13th largest category among the votes cast (Conservatives top, Labour next, etc.).

At nearly 100k in total (97,870 to be exact) the 'rejected' or 'spoilt' ballot papers were equivalent to the votes received by 3 or 4 MPs.  (Most MPs are elected on 18k to 28k votes.)

However, across the UK, they represented less than 1% of votes.  So they were not newsworthy.

Locally, they were occasionally newsworthy:

  A report, for example, 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.

This shows that when the number of spoilt ballots becomes significant, it demands a response.

John Bercow addresses spoilt ballots after election victory.


1) Clear votes for NONE were observed by observers of the election counts.

Those clear votes for NONE now make it indefensible for the Electoral Commission to continue to classify protest votes as 'voter intention uncertain'.

The more protest votes there are, the more they become newsworthy, the more difficult it will be for the Electoral Commission to silence that protest.  (See Making Protest Votes Count.)

2) As in those Northern Ireland constituencies (above), in David Cameron's own constituency and elsewhere, the spoilt ballots beat the votes for several other candidates.

Yet in each constituency, and nationally, the BBC chooses to report the votes for all candidates, and ignore the sometimes larger number of votes for None of the candidates.

Clear votes for NONE make it indefensible for the BBC and other media to ignore protest, and dismiss protest votes as 'uncertain'.

But things will only change when votes for NONE are clear, and in large numbers that make them newsworthy.

If just some of the silent 34% Vote NONE this time, then the protest for change could be the biggest ever public protest in UK history.  It would show the reality that the government represents less than a quarter of the country.

So if you want none of the parties, Vote NONE in the 2017 election. 
Establish the right to say NO, as well as YES, to UK politics.

2015 results in detail

The definitive election results for each constituency in 2015 from The British Election Study available as an Excel file, including 97,870 'Rejected votes'.

Election results from the Electoral Commission.  Select 'Electoral data (XLS) files for each UK national or local election.

A detailed Briefing Paper on the 2015 UK General Election from the House of Commons Library.  (It will download directly, so check your downloads folder.)

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