Usually with spoiled ballots (or ones not marked correctly) is as a candidate you have to make your views known to the returning officer of 'clear intention' or not regarding the paper in question. Basically agree whether the mark on the paper stands as a genuine vote or not.
Where a vote has not been accurately cast or the clear intention is 'sod off' it is ignored generally. The numbers are usually not that high.
But in this election of PCC's, rather than apathy, the wrong time of year, or voters not used to the procedures (wait for it to bed down) the larger than normal spoiled ballot papers suggests that this is an angry indifference:
According to the BBC, the number of spoilt ballot papers in Coventry was larger than the number of Lib Dem votes.Some of the comments on the Guardian site are a gem:
I spoiled my ballot in the end...This is not a role that should be party political. The electorate didn't ask for it. And people were given such little information that they didn't feel qualified to vote on it. It was ridiculous."And:
"Both my husband and I spoiled our voting papers. Utterly shambolic elections."And:
I spoiled my ballot paper by writing: 'No to Police Commissioners, yes to democracy' on mine. For good measure I listed some bullet point reasons! – Undemocratic, a waste of public money, don't politicise the police. I have always voted in every election since I was 18. I will not stay at home and not vote. I wanted to positively state that I do not approve of the PCC role although I'm sure some will see this as a wasted vote."It's quite an achievement on Cameron's part to introduce a form of voting that actively annoys people. His incompetence truly knows no boundaries.
Update from Coventry: turnout is 10:54 per cent, 884 ballot papers rejected, many spoiled (3.6% of the votes cast) Lib Dem vote Ayoub Khan (Lib Dem) - 783:
Martin Reeves, Coventry City Council’s chief executive and the returning officer responsible for the Coventry count, said there had been an unusually high number of deliberately spoilt ballot papers.And 'excuse of the year' award goes to....Jim Cunningham, MP for Coventry South:
He said many of the 884 rejected ballot papers had disparaging comments written on them.
"There are hundreds and hundreds of spoilt papers. A lot have been written on and spoilt with comments.
"You always get a percentage of spoilt ballot papers but there are a lot that have been spoilt deliberately."
"I think we need more polling stations and I’ve thought that for a long time."