Voting is the most fundamental way for citizens to influence who gets to govern their country. At the same time, voting comes with certain costs for the individual, from gathering information about the different candidates all the way to the time and effort it takes to go turn up at the voting booth. Despite the meaning of voting and the costs it involves, significant numbers of people cast ‘invalid votes’. Invalid means that these votes are either blank, meaning that the person has not made their tick for any of the candidates, or they are spoilt. People spoil their votes by filling out the ballot incorrectly, by writing in candidates that do not run in their constituency or ‘none of the above’, and some spoil their ballot by drawing pictures or writing obscenities on their ballot.

In our article, published by Democratization, we report the results of a global study of invalid votes. While the motivation for individuals to cast an invalid vote might differ widely, we wanted to know whether there are systematic conditions that increase how many invalid votes are cast. But first, how widespread is the problem?

Please click here to read the full “Compulsory voting and ethnic diversity increase invalid voting while corruption does not: An analysis of 417 parliamentary elections in 73 countries” article  published at Counting Counts, written by Griffith Asia Institute and Center for Governance and Public Policy Research Fellow, Dr Ferran Martinez i Coma,  and Center for Governance and Public Policy Research Fellow, Dr Annika Werner.