Earlier, in order to cast a negative ballot, a voter had to inform the presiding officer at the polling booth but the NOTA option now doesn’t require the involvement of the presiding officer.  |  Photo Credit: Getty Images
The voters across India are exercising the largest democratic practice for electing the new parliament. In September 2013, the Supreme Court had upheld the right of voters to reject all candidates contesting in the elections claiming it would go a long way in cleansing the political system of the country. As per orders, the Election Commission was directed to have an option of ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) on the electronic voting machines (EVMs). The voters have the right to reject all the candidates from their constituency.
Every EVM has a ‘None of The Above’ button at the bottom of the machine. In 2018, Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha elections, 1.4 percent of the total voters opted for NOTA. During same elections, in 12 such seats, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders lost out of which four were ministers. Meanwhile, in nine constituencies Congress party lost 10 seats with high NOTA margin.
What is NOTA?
The NOTA option allows the voter to register a negative opinion about the candidates. In 2009 Lok Sabha Elections, the Election Commission demanded for the NOTA option on the EVMs but the government was against the demand. But in 2013, the Supreme Court gave the right to the voters of having a negative opinion.
Reportedly, earlier, in order to cast a negative ballot, a voter had to inform the presiding officer at the polling booth but the NOTA option now doesn’t require the involvement of the presiding officer.
Does your NOTA vote count?
The Election Commission cleared that the NOTA votes cannot change the election results. Even if the maximum number of votes cast is for NOTA, the candidate getting the most of the remaining votes would be declared a winner. But this negative voting will force the political parties to field candidates with a clear image in the constituency.