EC finalises symbol for ‘None of the Above’ option

New Delhi: Election Commission today finalised the election symbol for "None of the Above" (NOTA) option for voters to exercise in the forthcoming assembly polls in five states.
 
The symbol is a rectangular box with the word "NOTA" written inside it.
 
After finalising the symbol, the EC notified the same and sent it to Chief Electoral Officers of all states, including the five poll-bound states, for them to take further action on the matter.
 
The CEOs have been asked to get the ballot papers published by including the NOTA option and also print it on the panel of contesting candidates in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
 
Consequent to the Supreme Court ruling allowing voters to exercise the NOTA option, EC will provide the same for voters at the upcoming Assembly polls and in all future polls, including the general elections scheduled next year.
 
Voters will for the first time exercise the choice of not opting for any candidate in the fray for a particular seat without their right to maintaining secrecy over their decision being violated.
 
Below the name of the last candidate on the EVM, EC will now provide a button for NOTA option for electors who do not wish to vote for any of the candidates in the fray in their constituency.
 
The EC has already clarified that the candidate securing the highest number of votes would be declared elected even if the number of electors going for the NOTA option surpassed the votes polled by the electoral contestants.
 
EC also said that if the number of contestants was equal to the number of seats to be filled, the Returning Officer has to declare all of them duly elected, as per provisions of Section 53(2) of the Representation of People Act, 1951.
 
EC clarified that the NOTA option, which is an expression of a decision not to vote for the contesting candidates, is not relevant in such cases.