This is my first question in ELL Meta.

My question is, how can I retract my downvote without giving an extra +1? I've just accidently downvoted an answer in ELL, so I want to retract it, but when I vote up, it gives +1 for the answer.

  • Just click on the down arrow again - it will toggle it off. After a certain amount of time ( a few minutes I think) you can't retract your vote unless the answer is edited.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 4, 2017 at 14:24
  • @ColleenV It's too late :) Feb 4, 2017 at 14:36
  • 1
    You should suggested an edit on the answer, or comment and tell the author that you accidentally downvoted them so they could edit the answer. Then, you should be able to click the button again to retract your downvote.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 4, 2017 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


Basically, you get five minutes to retract your downvote. From Meta SE,

What are the limits on how I can cast, change, and retract votes?

Limits on changing votes

  • In general, once you have voted, you cannot change your vote. There are two exceptions.
    • Exception one: you may change your vote a practically unlimited number of times within a five minutes window from the first vote you cast on that post. Note that after changing your vote ≈60 times, it will also be locked in.
    • Exception two: you may change your vote after every time the post is edited. A new window starts with the first vote you cast after each edit.
  • To simply undo a vote — i.e. make it as if you had never voted in the first place — click the "lit up" vote button. The result will be that neither an upvote nor a downvote is active, and you can come back to vote any time you like. Only cast votes are locked in.
  • To reverse a vote — i.e. change an upvote to a downvote or vice versa — click the "unlit" vote button, as you usually would. There is no need to perform an undo first.
  • Close votes can be retracted on any question which hasn't already been closed or your vote hasn't aged away, but you do not regain the vote to cast again and cannot re-cast another close vote on the same question.

If you miss the five minute limit, then users with 2000 or more rep can freely edit the post to unlock the vote and retract it. Ideally, the edit would be something meaningful, but we can't really stop you from doing something trivial.

If you have fewer than 2000 rep, then you can attempt to make an edit to the post. It has to be meaningful and significant, otherwise it might be rejected in the Suggested Edits review queue. It might be beneficial to include a comment with the edit that explains that you are trying to retract your vote, but I wouldn't count on it. Trivial edits are explicitly discouraged (Privileges > edit questions and answers).

The other thing you could try is leaving a comment under the post and explain that an edit needs to be made so that you can retract your vote. Actually, not only will OP see this, but other high rep users too. They might intervene and make an edit for you too.

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