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Online Department Seminar: Who would vote NOTA? Explaining a ‘None Of The Above’ choice in eight countries

CEU Vienna
Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 1:30 pm – 3:10 pm

Carolina Plescia, Sylvia Kritzinger and Shane Singh

In this study, we investigate who would vote ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) if this were available on the ballot paper using original data from eight European countries. In particular, we examine whether NOTA would be used by abstainers and voters to protest within the electoral process. We also test whether specific and diffuse support for democracy and its institutions correlate with a NOTA vote. We find that having NOTA on the ballot would reduce invalid balloting more than abstention and much more than protest party voting. Our results also suggest that NOTA is related to distrust in political institutions and authorities but not to broadly undemocratic attitudes. These findings have important implications for our understanding of the increasingly large amounts of abstention and invalid voting, as well as the growing distrust of political institutions, in democratic countries. They also hold lessons for electoral reformers.