@HOWnotWHO Manifesto

My #Manifesto #Mission is to educate the voting electorate that they have an #Option2Spoil on #May7. This is a positive mission to make sure the nation knows how our current electoral system works. It provides an opportunity to voters, who are registered but have no intention of voting for any specific candidate, the ability to be actively involved. [1]

In an attempt to bring this issue to as wide an audience as possible, I am running as the only #Independent candidate in #Lewisham #Deptford and hope to use this platform to reach more people. [2]

In my Official Flyers I tell you that “I don’t care who you vote for” [3] and I have tried my hardest not to use anything but facts below.

Please do ask @FullFact or anyone else to check the integrity of my work. My sources are good but my interpretation of them could be twisted, so do check for yourself and let me know if you think I am an honest politician (in the making).

Draw your own conclusions on how to vote, that’s right its #HOWnotWHO. So read on, and hopefully learn something.

What is #Option2Spoil?

This refers to a way that you can participate in the general election without voting for a specific candidate by intentionally spoiling your ballot paper.

What is a spoilt ballot paper?

A spoilt ballot is any ballot paper where there is any doubt over which specific candidate the vote should be attributed to. A ballot may also be spoiled by writing your name on it, voting for more than one candidate or if the ballot paper does not have an official mark on it. To make life slightly more confusing, a spoilt ballot becomes a rejected vote when it is officially counted.

Are spoilt ballots counted?

Guidance called ‘Verifying and Counting the Vote’ [4] produced by The Electoral Commission says “The count produces an accurate result, where the total number of votes cast for each candidate and rejected votes matches the total number of ballot papers given on the verification statement for the constituency” (1.1) The Electoral Commission also produce reports that indicate how all of the ballots are distributed in every constituency. This includes all votes for each candidates and rejected ballots. In the 2010 general election there were 0.666% rejected votes (Rejected votes / Electorate x 100) [5]

Am I allowed to use my #Option2Spoil

The following is a quote from Electoral Service Department in Lewisham so you will have to ask them if you don’t believe me.

“Currently what you describe as “the option to spoil” is not prescribed for in the law, though should the elector choose to do so, the are free to do so in whatever way they may wish” (Emphasis added)

How will people know I used #Option2Spoil and didn’t make a mistake?

As you can see from the groups that rejected ballots are be place into, there can be no ‘official’ meaning to you #Option2Spoil. However, real people count the ballot and unclear ballots are counted in front of candidates, election agents and Electoral Commission Officials (1.6) [6].

As indicated above by Lewisham Councils Electoral Service Manager you are free to spoil your ballot in whatever way you wish. The Electoral Commission produce guidance on distinguishing between rejected ballots and ballots attributed to specific candidates [7] . All you need to do is make it crystal clear that you have intentionally spoilt your ballot. My suggestion is that you #DrawTheLine where you are told to “Vote for one candidate only” [8]

Does #Option2Spoil ever make any real difference?

While no-one can predict the future, it is possible to give examples in the very recent past. The Electoral Commission produced a report on the 2012 Police and Crime Commissioner elections and highlight that “a significant proportion of the rejected ballot papers were deliberately spoiled by electors wanting to register their concerns about the elections, although it has not been possible to quantify” (1.23) [9] and later go in to say “LROs have no power to reject a ballot paper under a separate category, such as ‘deliberately spoilt’. We will explore with ROs whether and how this information could be recorded at future polls” (3.86) [9]

There is still “currently no published material of the Commission’s discussions with Returning Officers surrounding the recording of deliberately spoilt ballot papers. The Commission is committed to putting voters first by working to support a healthy democracy.” (Email dated 02/03/15)

Okay, so there is an #Option2Spoil. What is your point?

When you go to vote you will see this A2 size sign in the Poll Station [10]

When you go into the Polling booth you will see this A2 size sign [11]

If you are unsure of how to vote or of your #Option2Spoil and ask any question, the guidance that is allowed to be given is limited. Firstly they will be directed to the above posters and then if they are still unsure and require more assistance, the Presiding Officer should read out the instructions on the top of the ballot paper (section 5, p15) [12]

What does it say on top of the Ballot Paper?

“Vote for one candidate only” [13]

Do you think I have a point?

Answers to @HOWnotWHO

References

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46kzqxbYho8&feature=youtu.be
  2. http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-10p-political-project/
  3. https://www.dropbox.com/s/kuxaqki5jpxzzki/firstmanout.pdf?dl=0
  4. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/175389/Part-E-Verifying-and-counting-the-votes.pdf
  5. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/excel_doc/0004/105727/GE2010-turnout-admin-web.xls
  6. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/87699/UKPE-doubtfuls-booklet.pdf
  7. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/87701/Doubtful-ballot-placemat.pdf
  8. https://www.dropbox.com/s/32cqtz2toizu9pm/New-ballot-paper-design-2015.png?dl=0
  9. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/154353/PCC-Elections-Report.pdf
  10. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/150412/Making-Your-Mark-Example-Polling-Station-Notice-English-Colour-A2.pdf
  11. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/150364/Making-Your-Mark-Example-Booth-Notice-English-Colour-A2.pdf
  12. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/175621/Polling-station-handbook-UKPGE.pdf
  13. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/87701/Doubtful-ballot-placemat.pdf
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