In this March 27, 2018 file photo, a woman prepares to vote in the presidential election, in Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi's victory in last week's election was never in doubt, but the vote produced a surprise runner-up – an unusually large number of invalid ballots, suggesting a possible protest vote against Sisi or the election itself.Moussa's tally was outdone by the 1.76 million invalid ballots, which would have amounted to 7.27 percent of votes cast, a considerably higher percentage than in the last two elections: 4.07 percent in 2014 and 3.1 percent in the 2012 runoff.In the end, turnout was 41.05 percent, down from 47.45 percent when Sisi won his first election in 2014 .It's impossible to know how many voters deliberately spoiled their ballots. But some may have bristled at the lack of competition, or the election commission's threat to impose a fine on anyone who boycotted the vote, under a law that has been rarely enforced.Invalidating votes may have been seen as a relatively safe way to protest Sisi, who has waged a sweeping crackdown on dissent and banned all unauthorized demonstrations.After the 2012 and 2014 elections, images circulated on social media showing deliberately spoiled ballots. After this year's election, an image circulated of a write-in vote for Liverpool's Egyptian star striker Mohammad Salah, a hometown celebrity.
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