Few Opted for NOTA Option in Five Assembly Elections

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The ‘none of the above’ or ‘NOTA’ option had very few takers in the five assembly polls, counting of which was held on Sunday. According to data available on the Election Commission website, a total of 1,54,399 or (1.22 per cent) of the total voters exercised the option in Assam.

In Kerala, 91,715 or 0.5 per cent of the electors used the NOTA option, while in the Union Territory of Puducherry 1.30 per cent or 9,006 of the total people who voted used the option. In Tamil Nadu, 0.78 per cent or 1,84,604 of the total voters pressed the NOTA button which is placed at the end of the electronic voting machine (EVM) after the names of the contesting candidates.

In West Bengal, 5,23,001 voters (1.1 per cent) exercised the NOTA option. The figure would change once the final results are declared late on Sunday or early Monday morning. The ‘NOTA’ option on EVM was introduced in 2013 on the directions of the Supreme Court and it has its own symbol — a ballot paper with a black cross across it.

After the Supreme Court order in September, 2013, EC added the NOTA button on the EVMs as the last option on the voting panel. Prior to the apex court order, those not inclined to vote for any candidate had the option of filling what is popularly called ‘form 49-O’. But filling the form at the polling station under Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, compromised the secrecy of the voter. The Supreme Court had, however, refused to direct the Election Commission to hold fresh polls if the majority of the electorate exercises the NOTA option while voting.

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