Countries in the world:  196

Democracies 123

65%

On Average Vote

80

Use Proportional Representation

9

Require You to Vote

Why Voting Matters

The Blank Ballot

The blank ballot does not represent the views of disatisfied voters. The implication of leaving the ballot blank is at best ambiguous.

Spoiled Ballots

Spoiled, void, null, informal, or stray ballots are often ignored and counted as invalid. They are not included in the vote count.

The Abstention

An abstention shows a wish to participate, but dissatisfaction about the policies of all those who seek to represent you.

Abstention - A Positive Position

Voting is ethically significant as electoral outcomes can be harmful or beneficial. Voting changes the quality and ambition of government.

There is often no place to show your wish to abstain on a ballot. An abstention is not an abdication, it is the assertion of a position you hold about an argument or candidate. Abstentions are respected where incumbents vote, but abstention is rarely offered as an option in an election.

We have an ethical obligation to vote well, rather than choosing a candidate who we beleive would be damaging to a future we aspire to.

 

My Story of Abstention

“I am ninety years old and have voted in elections in the United Kingdom throughout my life. I want my voice heard, yet although there are some elsewhere who I would vote for, the policies I support are not represented by any of the candidates in my constituency.

I wish to make my vote count. I want to show my dissatisfaction with the choices on offer to me, and yet I do not want to leave the ballot blank. I want my vote to be an abstention.”

Ann Oakley



Make a DIFFERENCE

Voting is vital to the health of a democracy. Vote, and if a candidate does not represent your views: Abstain.

An official record of abstention is an expression of dissatisfaction with the candidates and their policies. An abstention can be a way of advocating and encouraging political reform - it can be an act of protest.

Abstaining is not impotent - it has an influence on policy.

Abstaining may not achieve your desired result, but nor may your vote. The ability to officially abstain provides a more legitimate and fairer electoral process.

Abstaining can be a refusal to help perpetuate the serious problems that you believe require reform.