Former CEC Gopalaswami welcomes SC verdict

Former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami first mooted the idea of negative voting in polls.

Chennai: Former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami, who first mooted the idea of negative voting in polls, welcomed the Supreme Court`s judgement on Friday, allowing electorate to reject all candidates and said it had the potential to become the right to reject an individual candidate later on.

"It is a welcome step. Earlier, voters who do not want to vote for any of the contestants had to tell the polling officer about his wish (to record so in relevant form) and his identity would be revealed. But with the latest judgement, his identity would not be revealed," Gopalaswami told a news agency.

He said the judgement could be a "stepping stone" towards the right to reject option (for each candidate) later on, if it was taken on the right note.

Explaining the difference between the options of right to negative voting and right to reject, he said, "Now you can allow voters to select none among the options. Right to reject is where you can reject (anyone of the) candidates fielded."

In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court held that citizens have right to cast negative vote rejecting all candidates contesting polls and directed the EC to provide `none of the above options` at the end of the list of candidates in electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot papers.


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