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Published May 2018 | metadata_only
Journal Article

A Taxonomy of Protest Voting


Observers of elections often report that voters have engaged in protest voting. We find that "protest voting" refers to a wide range of behaviors, and we create a taxonomy of these phenomena. Support for fringe or insurgent parties is often labeled as protest voting. Voting theorists have used the term in a completely different way, identifying an unusual type of tactical voting as protest voting. Protest voting also occurs when voters cast blank, null, or spoiled ballots. There are also instances when protest voting is organized and directed by political elites. Finally, several countries provide voters with the option of casting a vote for "None of the Above," which some see as a form of protest voting. In addition to developing this taxonomy, we discuss the analytical and empirical challenges confronting research on each type of protest voting.

Additional Information

© 2018 Annual Reviews. We thank Andre Blais, Jacquez Cremer, Marta Cantijoch Cunill, Phil Hoffman, Michael Lewis-Beck, Gerhard Loewenberg, and Jean-Laurent Rosenthal for helpful advice. We also thank participants in the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Conference on Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties (University of Kent) and faculty and students at the University of Tampere for comments, criticisms, and suggestions. Disclosure Statement: The authors are not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding, or financial holdings that might be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023