Saturday, 19 September 2015

General Election 2015: General: (2) - turnout


...I think I'm happy with my election results now (I know it's months since the election, but you know, stuff) having finally got all the figures for spoiled ballots, or at least as close as I think I can get. And I've not done Northern Ireland (where apparently 0.66% of votes cast were spoiled); this is just for the 632 English/Welsh/Scottish seats.

Anyway, just some quick general stats for now:

  • Potential electorate:  45,116,156
  • Total votes:  30,078,383 (66.67% of electorate)
  • Valid votes:  29,978,905 (66.45% of electorate)
  • Spoilt ballots:  99,478 (0.33% of votes cast)

Turnout and spoilt ballots by region:

Midlands - Valid turnout 65.17% (lower than national average) - Spoiled ballots 0.38% (higher)

Eastern England - Valid turnout 67.56% (higher than national average) - Spoiled ballots 0.37% (higher)

London - Valid turnout 65.39% (lower than national average) - Spoiled ballots 0.33% (average)

NW - Valid turnout 64.32% (lower than national average) - Spoiled ballots 0.39% (higher)

SE - Valid turnout 68.55% (higher than national average) - Spoiled ballots 0.38% (higher)

SW - Valid turnout 69.51% (higher than national average) - Spoiled ballots 0.31% (lower)

NE/Yorks - Valid turnout 62.78% (lower than national average) - Spoiled ballots 0.35% (higher)

Scotland - Valid turnout 71.00% (higher than national average) - Spoiled ballots 0.13% (lower)

Wales - Valid turnout 65.65% (lower than national average) - Spoiled ballots 0.21% (lower)

Very noticeable that Scotland had (as a region) both the highest % turnout and the lowest % of spoilt ballots, but nothing much else stands out until you really look at the details.

In terms of spoiled ballots, the real standout constituency is (of course) Buckingham, the Speaker's seat. This is always a mess...other main parties aren't supposed to stand as the Speaker is meant to be impartial, but they sometimes do (this time UKIP and the Greens stood candidates) and it all adds up to a lot of people in the constituency feeling as though they have no representation.

Notably high numbers of spoiled ballots:

Buckingham - 1,289 spoiled ballots
Leicester East - 533 spoiled ballots
Luton South - 431 spoiled ballots
Leicester South - 398 spoiled ballots
Tiverton and Honiton - 378 spoiled ballots
Blackburn - 325 spoiled ballots

For perspective, the average constituency had 157 spoiled ballots.

And, if they were to count, the total of 99,478 spoiled ballots would be equivalent to 2 seats under a system of proportional representation. That's not insignificant; if this many people are prepared to deliberately spoil their ballot paper rather than not voting at all (under the FPTP system these are the only two options available to people who feel they have no party to vote for), what if there was a "None of the Above" option on each ballot paper?

If there was the opportunity to vote NONE, it would give an extra option, so it should cut the number of spoiled ballots and stop so many people voting tactically. But most of all, it would ensure that these "protest" votes are counted and included in the totals (they are not at the moment) and so give a much more accurate reflection of the vote.

Well, something to think about.

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