NOTA is an acronym which stands for ‘None of the above‘. It is an option given to a voter who does not want to vote for any of the candidates contesting the polls.
1. What does NOTA mean?
As often confused, NOTA is not ‘the right to reject’ the electoral candidates, but ‘the right to register a negative opinion’ about the candidates contesting the election.
2. Does it have any Electoral Value?
According to the EC, although NOTA votes are counted, they do not change the election outcome. Such votes are only considered as ‘invalid votes’.
3. What’s the use of NOTA if it has No Electoral Value?
While a lot of people may question the purpose of NOTA if it doesn’t have a tangible outcome, the fact here is that, it encourages people to Turn up for votes despite of not supporting a candidate. It gives the common man a chance to express his disapproval towards the contesting candidates.
4. How to cast a NOTA vote?
Before the provision of NOTA, if a voter wanted to cast a negative ballot, he’d have to enter his names in a register and cast his vote on a separate paper ballot. The presiding officer at the polling boot would then put a remark in the form and get it signed by the voter.
However, casting a NOTA vote is now simpler than you think. Electronic voting machines (EVM) in India come with the ‘None Of The Above’ button which is at the bottom of the list of candidates.
5. Which are the other Countries where NOTA can be cast?
Countries like- Colombia, Ukraine, Brazil, Bangladesh, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Chile, France, Belgium, Greece and a few States in the US (Texas) allow voters to cast NOTA votes.
In 2009, the government had Initially opposed the Election Commission’s proposal to Supreme Court to offer NOTA on electoral ballots. However In September 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that voters should have the right to vote for ‘None Of The Above’ if they didn’t deem the candidates worthy enough.