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Al Jazeera blogs

Disenchanted Egyptians Spoil Their Ballots

Evan Hill

Many pro-revolution Egyptians, particularly young people who have become disenchanted with the quickly derailing transition process, have refused to vote for either the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi or Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister.

Some have joined the apparently growing number of those who are not voting, either to boycott the process or because they have simply lost interest. Others, though, have taken the additional step of spoiling their ballots.

The Supreme Presidential Election Commission will release the number of invalid votes when it announces final results, and these Egyptians are hoping that their ruined ballots will make a strong statement about the illegitimacy of holding elections under military rule.

Amira Salah-Ahmed, the former business editor at the Daily News Egypt and founder of the Egypt Monocle, posted this picture of her ballot, spoiled with a sticker that is being widely distributed and calls the election "illegitimate".

"Down with the rule of the field marshal, down with the rule of the supreme guide," it says, in reference to Shafiq and Morsi.

Muhamed el-Zoghby, a Port Said resident, tweeted that he had ruined his ballot by making marks for both candidates and writing on top: "Glory to the martyrs, down with military rule, this is from Port Said."

Port Said was the scene of a mass stampede and clashes between rival football fans in February that left more than 70 people dead. Many blamed the interior ministry's security forces for stoking both sides' anger and failing to assist in any way.

Shahir, a Twitter user passed on this picture of a spoiled ballot where both candidates had been marked and crossed out and "I want Hayatem" written above. Hayatem is a favourite Egyptian belly dancer. "The revolution continues," Shahir quipped.

Some Egyptians described to Al Jazeera how other ballots had been ruined.

Karim Maher said he had drawn devil horns on both candidates' heads, then written his own entry for "The Martyrs," which he checked.

He provided an illustration.

Ahmed Naguib,  an undergraduate student at the American University in Cairo, said he had written "principles cannot be divided" on his ballot.

Lama Abdel Barr, another American University student who writes for the AUC Independent, said others had simply written "the revolution continues," voted for preferred civic leaders such as socialist losing presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi or former UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei.

Another voted for Saad el-Sagheer, a famous actor and singer.

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