Here, I intend to write what comes to my mind about India. This could be about anything, politics, religion, movies or remote happenings. Feel free to check this blog for updates, who knows some could be of some interest to you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

NOTA - None of the above

For a system to be effective there must first be a high level of participation. To see good participation, there must be good clarity of the benefits. Our election process is more a "must hire" process than really giving people the power to register a clear NO to all of the candidates running the race. We call it the process of choosing the "lesser evil" and it leaves us with no better option.

By implementing the "None of the Above" (NOTA) option in the ballot paper/voting machine we can definitely take a big step towards getting a more eligible representative. The inability to express and register their disappointment of all the candidates is why the common man refrains from stepping into the polling booth. We even have a flawed system of recording the details of people who go to the booth but do not want to cast their vote to any candidate. In such situations, for accounting purposes the officers are supposed to write down the details in a separate register. This procedure goes against the basic rule of 'secrecy of ballot' and gives away the voters preference (to refrain). Some choose to pick their ballot paper, go to the covered area and not mark on any of the candidates but drop a fresh paper into the box giving opportunity for malpractice during counting.

It works like, if NOTA option which is proposed to be the last option in any Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) or ballot paper gets the majority, there will be re-election and the candidates must be changed by all parties. The rejected candidates cannot contest for that term in the constituency.

Let us see some of the good things possible with this option enabled.
  1. Improves participation by getting more voters to the voting stations on election day.
  2. People can decide the party's choice of candidates instead of the current form where the parties decide their candidates based on their internal process, which again is based on a simple highest bidder process. There are different prices decided by each party for each election.
  3. Even an unopposed candidate must get the voters consent.
  4. Voters will have the power to decide the number of terms the same person can be in power
  5. Lesser blank votes reduces election malpractice by whatever possible percentage

Of course, it comes with a cost of re-elections until an acceptable candidate is chosen but tell me if you are ready to incur losses for the entire term with an incapable "lesser-evil" politician in power than pay a premium to find a better one ?

I am not saying that this is the one solution to solve all our woes but will definitely be one step in the right direction for democracy.