GE15 : What Can Spoil Your Vote, Or Get It Rejected?

Can improperly crossing the paper ballot spoil your GE15 vote, or get it rejected?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!


Claim : Cross GE15 Paper Ballot In Full, Or Your Vote Will Be Rejected!

Voting for GE15 – the 15th General Election is over, and now, it’s time to count the votes!

An infographic went viral just before GE15, claiming that not fully crossing the paper ballot will spoil your vote in GE15, or get it rejected.

Here’s a summary of what it said, in English:

Voting Criteria

Acceptable Votes
– the number of marked votes meets the required number
– the cross (X) fully occupies the entire box or at least 75% of the box
– in case of mistakes (the cross exceeds the box), the SPR officer must sign his acceptance

Spoilt Votes
– Anomaly : Any marking other than a cross (X)
– Parkinson : Cross not drawn with straight lines
– Dwarfism : Cross is less than 75% of the box
– Gigantism : Cross exceeds the box
– Double Line : Repeated crossing in the box
– Any mistake without a signature by an SPR officer


GE15 : What Can Spoil Your Vote, Or Get It Rejected?

That is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp and social media, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : SPR Labelled The Viral Infographic As False

First, let me point out that the Malaysia Election Commission (SPR) labelled the viral infographic as false.

Fact #2 : Only One Vote Per Ballot

If there is one thing you must remember, it is this – you can only mark ONE VOTE PER BALLOT.

If you mark more than once in the ballot – selecting two different candidates, that will cause your ballot to be rejected.

You can mark twice or three times on the same political party or candidate – that’s fine, because your intent is clear – you want to vote for that party or candidate.

What’s not acceptable is voting for more than one candidate per ballot. Doing this will automatically cause your vote to be rejected.

Fact #3 : All Kinds Of Markings Are Acceptable

While SPR asks all voters to mark their votes with a cross (X), your vote will count even if you choose to mark your vote with other markings.

In his 2021 explainer video, the Director of SPR’s Election Academy Hasanul Isyraf, explained that your vote will be counted, as long as the KTM (Head of the Polling Centre) can discern your intention.

So if you mark your ballot paper with a tick (✓), an asterisk (*), a circle (o), or a slash (/ or \) – they will all be accepted, even if they are super small or super large.

But to make it easier for those who are counting the votes, he asked that everyone mark a cross (X) as that is the proper way to mark the paper ballots.

Fact #3 : Lines Do Not Need To Be Straight

At every election, some people will (unhelpfully) advise their friends to bring a ruler, because they claim that the lines must be straight, or the SPR will reject the vote.

That’s also NOT TRUE. You can draw squiggly lines, and the vote will still be accepted.

Fact #4 : You Cannot Write Words On Your Ballot

While different markings are acceptable, you cannot write words on your ballot, even if it is to indicate that you are voting for that party or candidate.

Any writing on the paper ballot will cause your vote to be rejected, even if you wrote “I vote for this party / candidate”.

Fact #5 : You Must Not Mark Outside The Boxed Section

The proper way to vote is to mark your choice in the empty box to the right of your preferred candidate and party.

But the SPR will accept any marking on the candidate’s name or the party’s name.

However, if you mark outside the boxed section, on the empty left side where the SPR stamp and serial number is located – your vote will be rejected.

Fact #6 : Your Ballot Paper Must NOT Be Torn

Before you even mark your ballot, you should make sure that your paper ballot was NOT torn.

It doesn’t matter if the ballot was torn accidentally by the polling clerk, or when you unfold it in the voting booth.

As long as it is torn, you must ask for a replacement ballot. If you don’t, your ballot will be rejected as a spoilt vote.

Please WATCH OUT about such FAKE NEWS on WhatsApp and social media. They are reduce voter confidence in the electoral process.

Regardless of what you may read or see on social media, please have faith in the electoral process, which is safeguarded by the Malaysian civil service and many volunteers.


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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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