Figure This: The right to not vote

On Sept 27,the Supreme Court held that citizens have a right to cast a negative vote.

Written by Karishma Kuenzang | Published:October 6, 2013 3:12 am

On September 27,the Supreme Court held that citizens have a right to cast a negative vote,rejecting all candidates contesting polls. None of the above (NOTA) is a ballot option provided in certain democracies which allows voters to show their disapproval of the people standing for elections.

SC gives electors the right to reject,says there’s dire need of negative voting

This makes India the 12th country to include NOTA or a similar option in its electoral proceedings.

Other countries which provide the option of NOTA or a blank vote are:

Colombia

In 2011,the elections for mayor were repeated in Bello,a northwest Colombian town,after a majority of voters cast a “none of the above” vote,rejecting the only candidate,German Antonio Londoño Roldan. He received 37.19 per cent of the votes,but was beaten by the 56.7 per cent of voters who said “no” to his candidacy

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Ukraine

Against all candidates: is the name of the NOTA option in Ukraine. In the 2010 Ukranian presidential elections,a candidate,Vasiliy Humeniuk,changed his name to Vasily Protyvsih (against everyone)

Russia

Had NOTA as an option,but abolished it in 2006

Scandinavian countries

In the parliamentary elections in Finland and Sweden,people use cartoons as a form of a ‘protest vote’,which is similar to the NOTA option. According to reports,they usually write Donald Duck in protest

Spain

Due to voting regulations,the blank ballot is recognised (voto en blanco),but has very little chance to influence the distribution of seats. The option is available to measure how unsatisfied voters are

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Poland

In 1989,voters were able to vote against the only candidate running from the ruling Communist Party by crossing out the candidate’s name on the ballot. As a result,the sitting Prime Minister and dozens of leading Communists were defeated because they failed to get the required majority

US

Blanks are treated as invalid. Only the state of Nevada has featured a NOTA option since 1975. In October,a district judge ruled that NOTA was unconstitutional. In September,the ruling was overturned by a panel and NOTA was reinstated as an option for Nevada voters

UK

A political party named No Candidate Deserves My Vote was set up in 2000 with the sole aim to introduce a bill in parliament to include the option of NOTA in every election

PAKISTAN

In the 2013 general elections,the Election Commission had first decided to give the NOTA option,but later scrapped the idea due to time constraint

Other countries which provide this option are: France,Belgium,Greece,Brazil,Bangladesh

However,there are some jurisdictions where voters themselves oppose the option. In 2002,Californian voters were asked if they wanted to exercise the option of NOTA. An overwhelming number of voters opted against it

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