The ‘NOTA’ option on electronic voting machines

Bihar: The assembly polls will be the first where the symbol will appear next to the ‘none of the above option’ on the last panel of EVMs and ballot papers. The symbol was designed by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad for the poll watchdog, the Election Commission said today.

After the Supreme Court order in September, 2013, EC added the NOTA button on the EVMs as the last option on the voting panel. NOTA was exercised by nearly 60 lakh people in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

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.

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.