Along with abstention, which is simply the act of not voting, or of refusing to vote, it is often considered to be a clear sign of the lack of popular legitimacy and roots of representative democracy, as not voting endangers the credibility of the whole voting system. If protest vote takes the form of a blank vote, it may or not be tallied into final results. Thus, it may either result in a spoilt vote (which is the case most of the times) or, if the electoral system accepts to take it into account, as a "None of the Above" vote.
Several way to cast a protest votes
Protest vote can be formulated in several ways:
- Voting for a minority or fringe candidate that has no chance of getting elected under standard situation.
- Posting a blank ballot paper, without marking a choice.
- Spoiling the ballot paper.
- Selecting a "None of the Above," or "Blank vote" option, if one exists.
However, some jurisdictions may give different interpretations to each of the methods mentioned above.
In addition, sometimes, a person may use even more uncommon, often illegal, methods to show the displeasure. For example, a voter could include ripping the ballot apart, asking other people to vote for them, selling their vote (for example: putting his vote on auction sites) or even eating the ballot.
- Time, "Education: Protest Vote"
- New York Times, "The Power of the Protest Vote"
- The Atlantic, "The Case Against Protest Voting (Remember Ralph Nader)"
- Voters For None of the Above
- NYU.edu, "A Theory of Protest Voting" by David P. Myatt
- Journal of Theoretical Politics, "Protest Voting and Abstention Under Plurality Rule Elections: An Alternative Public Choice Approach" by Won-Taek Kang
- Dartmouth.edu, "Protest Voting in Plurality Elections: A Theory of Voter Signaling" by Daniel Kselman