Blank and null votes

Juan R. Fajardo fajardos at SPAMix.netcom.com
Mon May 29 11:56:13 MDT 2000




Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky wrote:

> Any comments on the high turnover of blank ballots? In Argentina they
> have a very precise meaning, since voting is compulsory (even though
> the legislation is enforced with increasing "smoothness", or not
> enforced at all).


In Peru null and blank ballots also have a precise meaning.  They imply
rejection not only of the candidates but of the elections themselves,
and even of the system itself.

This was used rather pointedly by Sendero Luminoso after the 1985
elections to claim that Alan Garcia was not legally entitled to be
president because the void and blank ballots cast denied him a
plurality, much less a majority, of the total votes cast.  (He failed to
win a majority, so there was to be a run-off election between him and
the Izquierda Unida candidate, Lima mayor Alfonso Barrantes, but
Barrantes withdrew saying that it was clear that Alan would win.)

Voting is compulsory for all adults outside the jails and the military.
The law is not enforced en el momento, but later.  The fact of voting is
recorded in the Libreta Electoral, which serves as the national ID
card.  The LE must be presented when conducting business with government
agencies, when stopped by police, when entering or leaving the country,
etc.  It is then that the voting law is enforced through fines levied on
nonvoters, which must be cleared up before services are rendered.  Of
course, it is common to pay bribes one can get off on the cheap, but
still without the crucial stamp in one's LE.

- Juan





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