Should there be a NOTA (None of the above) choice in voting?

“None of the above” or “NOTA” for short, also known as “against all” or a “scratch” vote. Since 2009 in India, the NOTA option has been provided to voters. The vote does not hold any electoral value: even if a majority of votes are cast the candidate with the largest vote share would be declared the winner. In many elections, NOTA has won more votes than many of the political parties that contested. In many constituencies, votes received by NOTA has been higher than the margin by which the candidate has won.

Observations have been made that NOTA can influence more citizens to participate in voting. Many times, NOTA has been described as the maturing of India’s democracy. The advantage of NOTA has been defeated as the winner will be the candidate who receives the second-highest number of votes, even if NOTA receives the highest number of votes. Hence, “NOTA is a positive step”. A number of groups and individuals have been conducting voter awareness campaigns about NOTA. Recent year election results have shown an increasing trend of people choosing NOTA.

However, the power of NOTA to express dissent is clearly visible in reports where entire communities decided to democratically protest against governments that have failed to meet their needs. For instance, there have been multiple cases of entire villages deciding to vote for NOTA due to consistent failure of local governments to meet basic requirements like roads, electricity, and inaction towards villagers’ complaints about water contamination by industries. Sex workers who have been pushing for the legalisation of their profession to get themselves covered under labour laws, but have received no government attention, deciding to go NOTA.


Categories: #Opinion


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