Apr 23rd, 2017, 05:10 PM

Is Le Vote Blanc An Alternative Form of Democratic Protest?

By Sara Hafi
Image Credit: Pixabay/Tumisu
Millions of people want to protest the elections by not voting or by “voting white”

The blank vote is available as a ballot choice in France which signifies the voter's dissatisfaction with the choice of candidates. Voter blanc, as we call it in French, is different from abstention, which is the act of not voting. The blank vote is an important democratic principle. People have the choice to elect who they want, but they also have the possibility to show that they did not support any of the candidates. Voter blanc indicates a willingness to participate in the democratic debate but marks a refusal of the proposed choices.

A law regarding the recognition of the blank vote was voted in 2014. The law addressed the invalidating power of the white vote, however it only symbolically modified the electoral code that stated the blank vote will henceforth be counted separately. An empty envelope will be considered as a blank vote, and that's all. If during the election there is 90% of blank vote, the candidate with 10% would still win.

What to do if you wish to "voter blanc"?

The blank vote consists of a blank ballot in the ballot box, the ballot is without a candidate's name. People have also the option to place an empty envelope in the ballot box. It is important to know that blank ballots are not provided. It is not possible to distribute white ballot papers on polling days, because It is prohibited by law. Therefore, it is up to the voter to come with his or her own white ballot. It must be the same format as the official ballots to the nearest millimeter. Simply, an empty envelope is sufficient.

The equation of the blank vote is simple: 1 blank vote = 1 Abstention. Of course, there is a big difference between the voter who goes to the polling station and the person who simply does not want to vote. For that reason, it is important that we militate for the recognition of the blank vote. If protest votes takes the form of a blank vote, it must be tallied into the final results.