What it means to spoil a ballot in General Election 2024 and how to do it

Stock image showing a woman’s hand filling in a postal ballot / voting form.
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

With a snap election due to take place this summer, many are taking the time to learn about prospective candidates, as well as the voting process.

On July 4, people across the UK be able to have their say as to who they want as their next Member of Parliament. However, there is the question of what a person can do if they don't agree with the policies of any of the candidates.

The first option is of course, not to vote, but there is another way people can more effectively express their political dissatisfaction - by spoiling their vote.

Simply put, a spoiled ballot is one that is incorrectly filled out according to regulations set out by The Electoral Commission - which overseas all UK referendums.

It is not illegal to spoil a vote and can be done so in multiple forms. However, there are certain ways that an intended spoilt ballot could actually be counted.

Here's what you should know about spoiling a vote before General Election 2024.

How can I spoil my General Election ballot?

Spoilt ballot
An example of a spoilt ballot -Credit:Electoral Commission

Once you receive your ballot, whether it be at the poling station or by post, you can spoil it by doing things like writing a personal message, putting an X in the wrong place, drawing a large X over the entire page, or simply leaving it blank.

Another way to spoil a ballot is to write down personal details that identify you, such as your name of address. The aim is for the voter's view to be seen as indistinguishable and all "doubtful ballots" are organised separately into a tray for adjudication.

However, if you put another symbol in the box next to a candidate's name that's not an X, say a smiley face or exclamation mark, this may still be counted as a vote.

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