What is the meaning of a blank vote, a null vote and abstention?



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What is the difference between voting blank or voting null? What does abstention imply?

We analyze the meaning of each of these actions and explain to you to what extent it can affect each of the formations that are presented to the elections.

Blank vote

According to the Organic Law of the General Electoral Regime, a blank vote is considered a vote whoseenvelope does not contain any ballotIn the case of elections for the Senate, ballots that do not contain any of the candidates marked.

Who is affected by voting blank?

As the electoral system in Spain is currently formulated, the blank vote has an impact on the results of the elections and may harm minority parties.

Political parties need a minimum vote threshold in order to be eligible for seats in the autonomous chambers, local governments or the Congress of Deputies. This minimum is 3% of the total valid votes cast, so blank votes are computed in order to determine the cutoff figure.

By raising the minimum vote threshold, minority parties are eliminated in this first cutoff and the total number of seats (determined and constant number) is distributed among a smaller number of votes, thus favoring the majority parties and making it more expensive to obtain political representatives.

This effect is what is known as D’Hondt law, based on a system that states that the more votes there are, the more votes a party needs to reach the minimum threshold (3%).

Void vote

A null vote is an invalid vote and does not usually affect or harm any party directly. The Spanish electoral law considers that the null vote is all that cast in an envelope or ballot different from the official model, as well as the one issued on a ballot without an envelope or in an envelope that contains more than one ballot of different candidacies.

Yes you want to exercise your right to vote but you do not feel identified with any political option of which this would be the formula indicated so that your vote does not count for anyone.

Abstention

Abstention consists of not exercising the right to vote. It is generally associated with the fact that there is discontent or disinterest among people who can vote with the established system or with the political class that presents itself to represent the citizenry. This act does not directly harm any political party, it could be considered rather a form of protest the electoral regime.

If you want to see a practical example of all this, you can see the following videos on the YouTube channel WHYMAPS in which it is explained how the electoral system and the d'Hont distribution method work.

Related Reading:

  • Elections: curiosities of a polling station

Video: Explaining the 2020. Election Four Theories of Victory


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