New Delhi: The "none of the above" (NOTA) option, which will be implemented in the upcoming Delhi Assembly polls, will encourage voters to participate in the electoral process, a senior election official said on Thursday.
"The NOTA option is a major step toward electoral reform and will strengthen our democratic set up. It is distinctly different from the earlier option, Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Election Rules, where the secrecy of a voter was exposed," Delhi`s Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev told reporters.
He was speaking at a press interaction during an event of Delhi Election Commission here today.
Under Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Election Rules, voters were required to register their option of NOTA in a register, thus compromising secrecy.
"The strategic difference is that now the right to vote and right not to vote have been kept at the same pedestal while maintaining secrecy. Under Rule 49-O, those who did not want to want vote, their secrecy used to get revealed and hence for that reason many people did not come out of home.
"If they feel that none of the candidate is eligible for your vote then you can use this option without getting exposed and it will be electronically counted," Dev said.
He accepted that even after majority of votes under NOTA implying voters` rejection of all candidates, winner will be selected on the basis of rest of votes.
"It is right that as on date the legal situation is that even after more than 50 per cent are cast under NOTA, candidate will be selected on the basis rest of the vote cast. Following the "first past the post" principle, winner will be selected who has got maximum number of vote," Dev said.
In its September 27 judgement, the Supreme Court directed the EC to provide NOTA option on ballot papers and EVMs.
Below the name of the last candidate on the EVM, EC will now provide a button for NOTA option for voters who do not wish to vote for any of the candidates in the fray in their constituency.
The voting percentage during the last two Delhi Assembly elections in 2003 and 2008 were 53.42 per cent and 57.58 per cent respectively. The EC hopes that voting percentage will significantly go up in the upcoming election due to NOTA option.