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Blank ballots counted as "votes cast"


Guest AnneJ
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In a written ballot, where voters are directed to write the name of the person on the ballot, when totaling the number of votes cast, do blank ballots AND illegal ballots reduce the total number of votes cast? For example, if 100 eligible voting members are present, and 100 ballots are counted; however, there are 5 blank ballots, does the "number of votes cast" become 95, meaning that a majority vote will be 48 instead of 51?  What if 5 ballots are blank, and 5 are "illegal" (that is, there is information written on the ballot that cannot be interpreted as a person's name), does the "number of votes cast" become 90 (and a majority thus 46), or are those 5 counted as if cast, and the majority remains 48?

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27 minutes ago, Guest AnneJ said:

In a written ballot, where voters are directed to write the name of the person on the ballot, when totaling the number of votes cast, do blank ballots AND illegal ballots reduce the total number of votes cast?

Illegal votes are counted as votes cast. Blank ballots are not.

27 minutes ago, Guest AnneJ said:

For example, if 100 eligible voting members are present, and 100 ballots are counted; however, there are 5 blank ballots, does the "number of votes cast" become 95, meaning that a majority vote will be 48 instead of 51? 

Yes, that is correct.

27 minutes ago, Guest AnneJ said:

What if 5 ballots are blank, and 5 are "illegal" (that is, there is information written on the ballot that cannot be interpreted as a person's name), does the "number of votes cast" become 90 (and a majority thus 46), or are those 5 counted as if cast, and the majority remains 48?

The five illegal votes are counted as votes cast, so there are 95 votes cast and a majority is 48.

Although it may be helpful to clarify exactly what is meant by “there is information written on the ballot that cannot be interpreted as a person's name.” Does this mean the writing is illegible, or something else?

Edited by Josh Martin
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9 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

Although it may be helpful to clarify exactly what is meant by “there is information written on the ballot that cannot be interpreted as a person's name.”

Not sure it matters. "Unintelligible ballots or ballots cast for an unidentifiable or ineligible candidate are treated instead as illegal votes..." (RONR 11th ed., p. 416, lines 2-4).

"unintelligible" is differentiated from "ballots that indicate no preference" which are treated the same as blank ballots, i.e. they are ignored, treating them as abstentions (p. 415, lines 28-30). But to "indicate no preference" a ballot needs to do that in an intelligible way, for example by writing "I don't care" or "none of the above".

Edited by Atul Kapur
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