Is “blank vote” a wise choice?
I recently had a discussion with friends about having to vote in the second round of elections between two candidates that a voter likes none of them.
Let’s take the example of France. In 2002, the right candidate Chirac and the far-right candidate Le Pen proceeded to the second round of the presidential elections. So, let’s say that someone voted for the socialist party in the first round and did not want any of those two to govern them. What should the voter do?
First scenario: the voter does not think that there will be any real difference regardless who of those two will be elected and, thus, votes “blank”. That way, he indicates that both are bad candidates and that he would like someone else.
What if, however, one of the two bad choices is much worse than the other? Then what should the voter do? If he/she votes for the least bad candidate, the vote will be regarded as positive to this candidate (?). Then this candidate will govern the country in the next years in the name of those votes.
Many people have told me “I just vote “blank” in occasions like that”, although they do recognize that it would be a nightmare if, for example, Le Pen had been elected in 2002. Then why didn’t they vote? Because they didn’t believe that he would win. Many of them, if Le Pen was first in the polls in 2002, they would be terrified of the scenario and would vote for Chirac in order to avoid Le Pen’s election.
And here we come in 2017. According to this poll, http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/735118/French-election-2017-results-latest-polls-odds-tracker-win , Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron would be the two candidates of the second round. So let’s say now that someone regards himself, for example, center-right ideologically. He does not want the far-right Le Pen to become the new president, but he also does not want to vote for Macron, ex-member of the Socialist Party. Is the “blank” vote a wise choice? And what does the “blank” vote mean?
In my opinion, “blank” vote helps Le Pen. If this voter knew that only by his vote would Le Pen be elected or not, he would vote for Macron. Now, thousands of people that believe that their personal votes are not important in the elections abstain from the elections or vote “blank”. And since most people of those who will vote “blank” would prefer Macron instead of Le Pen, this is actually almost a pro-Le Pen vote, because that way the difference between the two candidates becomes less and the chances of Le Pen to beat Macron increase.
In the American presidential elections I heard from many people that both candidates were very bad and that voting for those elections would be like having to choose between shooting your head or your leg. The turnout was about 55,3%, Trump took only 45,9% of the votes, but yet he is the new president of the United States for the next four years. So how responsible was it from all those people who voted “blank” or didn’t vote, because they didn’t like Hilari, but knew that Trump was a much worse candidate? Wouldn’t it be wiser if all those people had just voted instead of declaring their disappointment with “blank” vote?
As for the example of 2002, is there anyone who really believes that Chirac, who had received 19,88% in the first round, was so popular to receive 82,21% in the second round? Everybody understands that this huge percentage was a vote against Le Pen.
So what could “blank” mean? “Blank” could mean, especially in the first round of elections, that there is absolutely no candidate that a voter would like to govern them. This “blank” vote requires, however, that the voter has heard all the candidates, especially the least presented by the media. Nevertheless, if it has to do with presidential elections, in the second round every citizen should decide, in my opinion, which of the two candidates will be better/less bad to govern their country for the next years.
Democracy is the system of government where everybody is responsible.