A revolutionary change was brought in the voting in Indian elections in 2013 when the None of the above (NOTA) option was introduced through a Supreme Court order. The apex court on September 27, 2013 had directed the Election Commission to make necessary provision in the ballot papers/EVMs and provide a button for NOTA in EVMs. The provision for NOTA is to give the voters who come to the polling booth an option to decide that they do not want to vote for any of the candidates in the fray.
The provision of NOTA button was first implemented in the State Assembly Elections of Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh in 2013. Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) analysed the number of votes secured by NOTA in various elections since 2013.
Here is how the journey for NOTA has been in the last 5 years:
- It has secured 1.33 crore votes in state assemblies and Lok Sabha Election combined.
- On an average, it has secured 2.70 lakh in the State Assembly Elections.
- In the bye-elections in Goa, NCT of Delhi and Andhra Pradesh, a large number of people voted for NOTA, making its vote share the third or fourth highest in the respective constituencies.
- In the 2017 Goa Bye-election in Panaji and Valpoi constituencies, NOTA secured the third position with 301(1.94%) and 458(1.99%) votes, respectively.
- In 2014, NOTA was first introduced in Lok Sabha Elections. Overall, NOTA secured 60,02,942 votes. Among the NOTA votes in Lok Sabha elections, the highest number of votes i.e. 46,559 was in Nilgris constituency in Tamil Nadu. The lowest number of votes NOTA secured i.e. 123 votes was in Lakshadweep.
- Among state assemblies elections, NOTA secured the highest percentage of votes in 2015, i.e. 2.08% (9, 83,176 votes) in 2 states assembly elections of Bihar (9, 47,279 votes), NCT Delhi (35,897 votes.