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November 20, 2013

None of the above

Russell Brand’s recent outpointing of Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight on the subject of voter apathy, has stirred quite a bit of debate. It also added weight to the argument that the option of voting for ‘none of the above’ in any election should be an acceptable democratic choice of the voter. In many countries it already is. In Spain, the ‘blank vote’ regularly polls between 3-4% and provides an active option for the disaffected voter. 


To learn more about the blank vote campaign click here 

BLANK Votes Count

All votes, including blank and spoiled votes, are counted and announced in the results for each constituency on election night.

Blank votes have traditionally been few in number because people have been unaware of the option.  Instead, nearly 40% of registered voters have simply not voted.  There has therefore been no media or political pressure to retain blank votes in the subsequent presentations of the results, or even to require all returning officers to separate blank from spoiled votes.

This will change if significant numbers of people vote blank.  It will become a key news story of this election.  Unlike non-voters, blank voters cannot be dismissed as apathetic.

The 2008 London Mayoral and Assembly elections have set the precedent for blank votes being formally recognised and retained in results.  (In the London Mayoral election, 13,034 blank votes were cast, and in the Assembly Member election, 39,894 blank votes were cast.)

Blank means BLANK

Some people like to write ‘None of them’ or a comment on the ballot paper.  However, in the 2008 London elections these marked papers were classified as ‘rejected votes’, not blank votes, because it could be argued that the vote was unclear or that the handwriting could make the voter identifiable.  So to vote blank, the ballot paper needs to be left completely BLANK.

Two positive outcomes

This is a campaign to improve and revitalise UK politics.  The message is ‘Vote for a candidate you really want, or vote blank in protest.  Both will help to revitalise UK politics’.

If some of the nearly 40% who didn’t vote last time decide to vote for candidates who they trust to represent local people with integrity and to improve UK politics, then we may get a good range of people in parliament and any election result is possible.


If significant numbers of people don’t want to support any of the candidates, and vote BLANK instead of not voting, it will be a key news story in this election.  It would show the level of dissatisfaction with UK politics and the positive demand for real change.

Both are routes to improving UK politics.  With nearly 4 in every 10 registered voters not voting in 2005, there are enough potential voters to make both outcomes possible. 

We are publicising this site widely to engage potential voters and non-voters.  Please help. 

When someone says they are not going to vote for anyone, just suggest they vote blank.  It prompts a more interesting discussion, and it counters the justification for not voting.  (We say this from experience of many interesting discussions on doorsteps during the county council elections.)

If you are disillusioned with UK politics, election time is the moment to improve it.  If we all take part in this election – these could be exciting times.

To learn more about the blank vote campaign click here