Spoiling your ballot has certainly made the news. Former ANC veterans have started a ‘VOTE NO’ campaign, calling for you to vote for smaller opposition parties. They are surprised at the response they are getting from the young electorate. Whether you decide to actually vote, boycott the ballot or spoil it, that’s completely up to you.
Before you decide though, there’s a few things you have to know:
How do you spoil your ballot?
A spoilt ballot is when the voter makes any other mark than an X on the designated area of the paper. So writing your name, drawing an ‘x’ next to more than one party, scribbling over the face of the leader you dislike will all be considered “spoilt”. The “Vote No” campaign says you should spoil you ballot by writing “NO” across it. Only make other marks on the paper if you want it to be considered spoilt.
Is it counted?
Yes it is counted! And recorded. In 2004 there were 463,968 spoilt ballots and 239, 237 in 2009.
Will it make a difference?
South Africa works with the closed list proportional system, which means that the seats are allocated according to all the VALID votes received. While the spoilt votes are counted, they won’t make a difference as they are not considered a valid vote. If the ANC has the majority of the total valid ballots then they win the majority of the seats in parliament. Spoiling your vote is then pointless – unless the spoilt ballots were included and those chairs remained empty.
Will voting for smaller oppositions make a difference?
Yes, the ANC majority could decrease.
” The only way the ‘Vote No’ campaign could have been effective is if it began earlier and targeted political parties, by simply saying ‘vote for smaller parties, they are fragmenting opposition vote'” says Zwelethu Jolobe, Politcal Science lecturer at UCT.
Shouldn’t we just boycott the ballots?
Some disgruntled ANC supporters, who can’t see themselves voting for anyone else may want to stay at home. Or maybe you don’t feel like braving a queue only to spoil your ballot. The IEC website reports a voter turnout of 77.3% compared to 76,7 in 2004 and 89,3 % in 1999. It’s not better to scratch than it is to stay at home- it works out to be the same thing.
On the flip side, if you’re waiting for the party that ticks all your boxes, don’t hold your breath. You will be waiting ’til pigs fly, ’til the sun melts or falls from the sky or ’til you marry your celebrity crush. So it’s better to choose someone to vote for that is closest to your interests.
Whatever you decide to do, the chance to have your say in who runs the country comes around only every five years. Make sure you use the opportunity wisely. Don’t throw it away. Vote smart.
Follow me on Twitter:
The story of #Elections2014 continues. Stick with #LiveVIPZA and we’ll give you analysis, debates, comments, polls and all you need to make it through the all-important task of VOTING during the 2014 elections.
Check out our latest content on our VIP mini-site livevip.co.za and YouTube channel, Like our dedicated Facebook page Facebook/LiveVIPZA, join the discussion on Twitter #livevipza or join our Twibbon campaign.