The spoilt ballot strategy in practice

So I decided to vote None of The Above in the European Elections today — but I included a little note.

None-Of-The-Above-May2014For those of you who struggled like me with what was the best move to promote individual freedom I hope you think this was a reasonable approach. It was the best I could come up with that balanced democratic participation, the values of freedom and opposition to the EU.

The note read…

“To whom it may concern,

In today’s European elections I have decided to spoil my ballot paper and vote None of The Above. I think it both appropriate and in the democratic spirit that I explain my action in a few short sentences.

To be clear I thoroughly oppose the EU. I believe it to be a despicable institution that is anti-democratic, corporatist in outlook and has totalitarian tendencies. I truly hope that one day the buildings it inhabits across the globe stand as empty monuments to mankind’s arrogance and folly.

As a man who holds these views it may seem natural for me to vote for a party such as UKIP. While I have considered this option and believe that Nigel Farage is a decent, honourable and freedom loving man I cannot bring myself to do this. UKIP are a party with very misguided views on immigration. And as someone with many friends and loved ones of foreign birth I believe it would be a great injustice on my part to vote for such a party.

These are the reasons I spoil my ballot paper.

Yours faithfully,

A freedom loving individual


  1. I do not consider adding a NOTA. Box and ticking it “spoiling”, even if it is counted as such. It is, rather, correcting the ballot 🙂

    If enough people correct/”spoil” their ballot, then the meme has a chance to take hold. One day, the word/genie will get out.



  2. “If enough people correct/”spoil” their ballot, then the meme has a chance to take hold. ”

    That is simply not going to happen. The proportion of the electorate voting in UK elections has declined considerably in the past half century. So has the proportion of the electorate voting for the big two parties, and even for the big three parties. But the number correcting / spoiling their ballot paper remains tiny.

    And while politicians and the press notice and ponder the decline in voting, and the rise of minor parties, they pay no attention at all to spoiled and corrected ballot papers. They pay no attention to them at the count itself, and they pay no attention afterwards – largely because the number of spoiled ballots is always tiny, and is likely to remain so.

    I might add that I write as someone who has no problem with choosing to spoil my ballot. Indeed I have cast a deliberately spoiled ballot paper in four out of the last five general elections. However, I spoil my ballot to keep my conscience clear, not because I think I can send a signal to anyone.

    I might also add that in this case, writing to UKIP to protest, and / or telling your kipper friends what you think, seems to me to be a more constructive approach.



    1. Non-sequitur. Just because spoiled ballots in the past were small has no bearing on the future of a move to intentionally add NOTA to ballot papers, neither has the decline in voter turnout.



      1. What you say to John is true, but it does also follow that someone should be agitating for a larger NOTA vote, or for an official NOTA option. Might that someone be you?


  3. By participating in an election (even if you decline to vote by writing NOTA) you are effectively legitimising the democratic process and tacitly agreeing that the winners of the ballot may exercise power over you as an individual. You grant them moral authority to enact whatever appalling statutes they wish and, by having participated in the process, you will have become complicit in their tyranny and your own oppression.

    I believe the correct libertarian response to democracy (and government) is to ignore it.



    1. One should not simply ignore that which is being done to you constantly. Today is Tax Freedom day, and yet is it nearly June. Nearly half a year of your life has been confiscated over the course of 2014.

      It is simply irrational to do nothing in the face of such fractional murder, and all the more irrational to be resigned to fixing the problem through some kind of slow leakage into the culture, like water from your shower penetrating old grout and seeping down over the course months to make a small unnoticeable patch on your kitchen wall. The danger with such an ineffectual strategy is that someone comes along and re-tiles the bathroom, cutting off even that tiny trickle of ideas.

      In the EU elections a “leave me alone” vote was possible – by holding your nose and voting UKIP – not so in other elections, unless something changes. If we do not want to make a libertarian party work, so as to be able to vote for it, then we must have an alternative strategy that goes further and faster than slow cultural leakage.



    2. If you are going to apply such a rigid moral line, what about passports? On this same principle, the notion that one must get a document granting the “privilege” to travel is wholly contrary to libertarian principles, and applying for a passport could be seen as accepting the state’s ownership of the individual. However, if you want to travel …



  4. Simon

    You state that there is no political party worthy of your vote yet you advocate voting anyway. How is this logical? You accept that you are oppressed by the state yet you participate in its democratic con trick- thereby giving legitimacy to your subjugation.


    I conform to many outrageous demands of the state in order to be able to live my life as well as I can. I even pay tax so they don’t put me in jail.The state demands I have a passport to cross borders- it does not yet compel me to vote.


    ” By voting – even for a losing party – you are voicing your opinion that you should be ruled, that you should be ordered around, that you should be stolen from. More than this, worse than this, you are voicing your opinion that other people should be ruled, should be ordered around, should be stolen from.”

    Agreed and well put.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s