Invalid ballots and the “crisis of representative democracy”: re-inventing protest at the 2012 Serbian elections

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This article examines the ways in which invalidated electoral ballots may be articulated as acts of protest. We argue that some instances of ballot invalidation can be understood as protest and as a reaction to the broader “crises of democracy” which have also spurred on movements such as Occupy. We focus on Serbia’s 2012 elections as a case study, given the high increases in invalid ballots and calls for collective action calling for ballot invalidation. We discuss protest movements which coalesced around this election, calling for electoral ballot invalidation and using social media to frame this activity as protest. Through our case study, we explore the ways in which the ballot can become a tool of contention, and how protest can be expressed through an engagement with extant structures and institutions.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-835
Number of pages28
JournalEast European Politics and Societies
Issue number4
Early online date9 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2014


  • elections, electoral protest, invalidated ballots, representative democracy, Serbia


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