Thursday, 20 March 2014

'None of the Above' (NOTA)

For the first time, electorate across the country will have an option of not choosing anyone from a list of candidates during the upcoming Lok Sabha Polls.

As many as 20,000 EVMs will also have a paper trail facility which will enable a voter to verify whether his vote has been cast correctly.

Announcing the Lok Sabha poll schedule here, Chief Election Commissioner, V S Samapath said 'None of the Above' (NOTA) option will be available throughout the country.

The NOTA was first made available to voters during the assembly polls held in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram this time it will be available all over the country.

Under the NOTA facility, a button will be provided in the EVM after the name of the last candidate in the list where the electors will have the option of not voting for anyone in the fray.

The "none of the above" (NOTA) button that electronic voting machines will have from now on does not give you the 'the right to reject' all candidates.

Illustration :: Even if there are 199 NOTA votes out of a total of 200, and candidate X gets just one vote, X is the winner, having obtained the only valid vote. The rest will be treated as invalid or 'no votes'. NOTA may not affect election results, the option would ensure secrecy of the voter wanting to make a choice that amounts to abstention, and also to ensure that nobody casts a bogus vote in his place.

But after EVMs came in 1998, that secrecy or the chance to invalid votes was taken away since the pressing of a button is accompanied by a loud beep, audible in the entire polling booth and even outside. No beep would mean non-voting and everyone would know. This not only violated the voter's secrecy but also made him vulnerable to reprisals.


The Supreme Court’s recognition of a negative vote as a constitutional right should be followed by acknowledging it as a rejection of all candidates.

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