Brexiteers and Remainers spoil local election ballot papers in protest

PUBLISHED: 12:05 03 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:53 03 May 2019

PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESK

Handout photo taken with permission from @Jord16 of a spoiled ballot paper with the word Brexit written on it, from the Worcester City Council elections. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday May 3, 2019. See PA story POLL Spoiled. Photo credit should read: @Jord16/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESK Handout photo taken with permission from @Jord16 of a spoiled ballot paper with the word Brexit written on it, from the Worcester City Council elections. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday May 3, 2019. See PA story POLL Spoiled. Photo credit should read: @Jord16/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

A number of voters on both sides of the Brexit debate took to social media to boast about spoiling their ballot papers in the local elections, with many referencing their disillusionment.

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People shared images of voting slips with messages including “Get May out”, “Brexit betrayal” and “Traitors” written across them.

Another wrote: “I'd rather poo in my hands and clap than vote for this lot.”

Jordan (@Jord16_) voted in the Worcester City Council elections and said he spoilt his ballot because of issues surrounding Brexit.

He told the Press Association: “The major parties have been lying for three years straight about Brexit and, in a two-party system, neither of them deserve to be voted for at any level.

“I'm actually a member of the Conservatives, so under normal circumstances I would have voted for them. If there was a Brexit Party candidate I would have voted for them.”

The campaign was started by Leave.EU, which tweeted in March, encouraging people to spoil their ballot papers.

They wrote: “The Conservatives depend on our votes. Instead of respecting our decision to leave the EU, they have chosen to stab us in the back.

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“Send a message on May 2 by spoiling your ballot, writing in @brexitparty_uk and show CCHQ what happens when you defy the will of the British people.”

There were also similar protests from Remain supporters, with messages including “Stop Brexit”.

It is not illegal to spoil a ballot paper, but filling it out incorrectly or covering it with graffiti can render it invalid.

One ballot paper in the Cotswold seat of Tetbury town marked with the word “Brexit” was still counted - giving the Tory candidate a majority of one.

It included a large arrow pointing to the Conservative candidate.

The returning officer said it had consulted the Electoral Commission guidance before making a decision.

They said: “Prior to the final adjudication on the doubtful papers, the number of votes for the Conservative candidate and the independent candidate were level.

“However, when adjudicating on those 'doubtful' papers, the returning officer awarded one additional vote to the Conservative candidate, having regard to the guidance contained in the Electoral Commission's booklet on doubtful papers and examples within election law books.”

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