ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NOTA Not Enough

The direction to the Election Commission (EC) to include the “None of the Above” (NOTA) option in electronic voting machines is nothing more than a consolation prize to the individuals/groups campaigning for a cleaner political environment in the country. The reasons are well illustrated by Manjari Katju in her detailed piece “The ‘None of the Above’ Option” (EPW, 19 October 2013). At most, this option guarantees the secrecy of the ballot, which otherwise was not ensured if a voter chose not to vote for any candidate on the list.

NOTA will remain a toothless provision until at least two other policies are introduced. The first should be the provision that NOTA be counted as valid votes (at present they are counted as invalid votes) and if the total number of such votes equals or exceeds the highest number of votes secured by the leading candidates the election be declared null and void. The second could be the provision of making voting compulsory for the citizens.

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