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Why NOTA, a blank vote, is a waste with no impact on election results

By Oneindia
|

New Delhi, Dec 19: On Monday, when the Assembly election results of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were declared, the word NOTA (None Of The Above)--termed as a tool for the voters to reject all candidates contesting the elections--made its comeback.

In fact, NOTA was trending on Twitter till Tuesday morning. The renewed interest in NOTA started after reports stated that in the Gujarat Assembly elections--the voting for which took place on December 9 and 14--5.5 lakh people opted for NOTA, which means 1.8 per cent voters in Gujarat pressed the NOTA button on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

nota

In Himachal Pradesh, 33,000 voters opted for NOTA (which means 0.9 per cent voters in the hill state decided to reject their candidates). The Assembly elections in the state were held on November 9.

In high stake electoral battles like Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, when 5.5 lakh and 33,000 voters respectively reject candidates it holds great meaning, because if these many people have not opted for NOTA, results could have been very different keeping in mind how in Gujarat at least 10 candidates lost polls by a very small margin like 250 votes.

When a Twitter user asked former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi what would be the result of an election if NOTA gets maximum votes, he stated that "it makes no impact on result".

"NOTA is like a blank vote. It makes no impact on result. If 99 persons vote for NOTA and 1 for Prashant, for EC the winner is Prashant!," tweeted the former CEC.

Sanjiv Bhatt, former IPS officer from Gujarat, added that NOTA was a waste.

"NOTA is a waste. As far as the outcome of any election is concerned, your NOTA vote is exactly equivalent to your not voting at all. Even if NOTA gets the highest number of votes, the candidate with the most number of votes (after NOTA) wins the election. It is a trap for fools," Bhatt tweeted.

However, Quraishi cited benefits of NOTA for voters.

"NOTA has 2 benefits: 1. It keeps your not voting for any one secret and saves you from potential reprisal from losing candidate. 2. It's better than not going to booth at all, so that no one can proxy for you in your absence," he added.

The NOTA option enables a voter to officially and secretly register a vote of rejection of all contesting candidates.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, when NOTA was introduced for the first time in any parliamentary election, close to 60 lakh voters (1.1 per cent) opted for this option, which was more than the votes polled for more than 20 parties.

Before the introduction of EVMs, when voting was done through ballot papers, voters could put in the ballot paper without marking against any candidate thereby rejecting all candidates. Such a vote was counted as a rejection. However, this rejection option was not available to voters on the EVM and therefore the NOTA button was introduced.

Although experts cited that the NOTA option makes no impact on election results, it definitely shows badly on our democracy as voters have expressed their clear dissatisfaction against all the candidates up for polls in any constituency.

Similarly, those who chose not to vote do a great disservice to the nation by not exercising their franchise.

OneIndia News

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