None of the above, or NOTA is one option present in an EVM. Electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the general elections since 2014 has this option. People may vote for NOTA if they believe that none of the contenders for office deserve their support.
People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), an NGO, submitted a petition in 2004 asking for the “right to negative voting” for voters.
The Election Commission (EC) was ordered to implement the NOTA option in EVMs by the Supreme Court in September 2013 after the PUCL’s petition was accepted.
Options before NOTA
Rule 49-O of the Representation of the People’s Act (1961) already allowed voters to abstain from voting before the NOTA option existed. In order to employ the 49-O rule, a voter must advise the poll worker of their choice and fill out a form rejecting all candidates. It makes sure that his or her vote is not cast in error but has nothing to do with the outcome of elections. There will be no confidentiality for the individual using this regulation, which is a downside.
Varying nations give different weights to the outcomes of NOTA voting. In India, if NOTA votes are in the majority, the candidate with the next-highest majority will be elected. Thus, the outcomes of the election won’t be changed.
The benefits and drawbacks
The NOTA option will compel political parties to pick candidates who are honest, that is, have no criminal backgrounds.
Additionally, it protects people’s “freedom of speech and expression.” The use of NOTA will help to mitigate the drawbacks of 49-O. Consequently, this will raise the percentage of voters.
However, even if a majority of voters choose NOTA, the candidate with the next-highest majority will win. Therefore, it does not allow for applicant rejection and automatically disqualifies them.
As a result, some individuals could question why they should wait in line to vote for NOTA since the outcome is unaffected.