They are not taken into account in election results, yet they are far from negligible. Blank and invalid votes – but also abstention – will still be widely scrutinized this Sunday for the first round of the presidential.
What is a blank vote?
When a voter goes to vote, but either puts in a blank ballot that they brought themselves, or nothing in the envelope, it becomes a blank vote.
What is an invalid ballot?
This is a vote where the ballots or envelopes have been altered (erasures, writings, drawings, etc.) or are non-regulatory (not the right size or the right color, etc.).
What is forbearance?
These are the people registered on the electoral lists who did not come to vote.
How important are they legally?
Until April 1, 2014, the electoral code did not differentiate between blank and invalid votes and excluded them as a set. Now, in accordance with the law of 21 February 2014, blank and invalid votes are counted separately. The blank votes are therefore indicated in the results of the vote of each bureau on the minutes.
However, both are not counted in the votes cast (total number of voters, without abstentions and blank or invalid votes).
Why are abstentions and white votes scrutinized?
In both cases, these are people who have taken the step of registering on the electoral lists. The question then arises as to why some did not want to vote, and others chose to move so as not to vote for anyone.
The more these cases are numerous, the more the reasons for these non-votes can signal serious problems: lack of interest in public life and/or politics, disagreement with all politicians, crisis of representation…
What legitimacy would a person elected with an abstention rate of more than 60% have?
In 2021, the regional elections broke a record, with 66.6% abstention. Among the 18-24 year olds, 87% abstained in the 1st round against 40% of the over 70s.
Towards a consideration of blank votes in the votes?
Many voices are raised for the blank votes to be counted in the votes cast, because the person went to vote. That’s why the 21st of February 2014, a law was passed to recognize the blank and differentiate it from the void: “The blank ballots are counted separately and appended to the minutes. They are not taken into account for the determination of the votes cast, but special mention is made of them in the results of the ballots. An envelope containing no ballot paper is treated as a blank ballot paper. »
But their impact on the results is only in the media, because they are excluded from the votes cast. Including them in this count would give them more weight. However, would abstentionists choose to use it? Can an election be validated if the blank vote exceeds a significant percentage? The question remains at the heart of the political debate.