Home INDIA Poll Officers Can’t Force Electors Who ‘Refuse’ To Vote At Booths: Voting Rule

Poll Officers Can’t Force Electors Who ‘Refuse’ To Vote At Booths: Voting Rule

by Alexander
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Pollsters cannot force voters who 'refuse' to vote in the polling booths: voting rule


There is a right to “refuse to vote” even after voters have registered their ID with the Speaker.


At a time when the Election Commission is promising to do everything in its power to attract eligible voters to polling stations to exercise their right to vote, not many voters are aware of their right to “refuse to vote” even after verifying their identity registered with the chairman.

That right, which is separate from the provision to vote under NOTA, can be exercised under the ‘Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 Rule 49-O’, which sets out the little-known option for voters to abstain from voting even after they have reached the polls. stand.

While the NOTA (None Of The Above) option allows voters to express their lack of confidence in any of the candidates seeking a mandate, the ‘refusal to vote’ option allows a voter to override the electoral process in his to be avoided entirely.

The 49-O clause directs the presiding officer that once an elector refuses to vote in a booth after his credentials have been verified, the officer “shall place a note to that effect upon the entry in Form 17A and bear the signature or thumb impression of the voter.” will be obtained against such comment”.

“This is not a new introduction of rights. It’s been around for a while. However, voters have very little idea about it. Most people are not aware of this option,” a senior EC official told PTI.

Abstaining votes would obviously play no role in influencing the outcome of the election and the candidate who obtains the highest number of valid votes, regardless of his margin of victory, would be declared elected, he clarified.

On whether the EC would increase voters’ awareness in this regard, the official said, “No such plan currently exists.” He underlined the benefit of Rule 49-O, stating that the rule “provided the opportunity to reject all candidates while controlling spurious votes.”

EC statistics show that in the 2019 general elections across India, 1,389 votes were ‘rejected for other reasons (at the polling station)’.

However, it could not be determined whether these votes were partially or completely rejected for people exercising their rights under Rule 49-O.

The rule states that “if a voter, following his electoral roll number duly entered in the ‘Register of Voters’ Form 17A and his signature/thumb impression duly taken, decides not to vote, he shall not be compelled to cast his vote to bring. to vote”.

“In the form, instead of ‘Under Rule’, links without vote or ‘Refused to Vote’ will be inserted for those voters who wish to leave without voting after signing the ‘Register of Voters’,” it said.

In the event that the ‘assign’ button on the ‘Control Unit’ of the EVM, which prepares the voting unit for ‘recording a vote’, is activated when a voter refuses to vote, the Presiding Officer or the Third Electoral Officer shall lead the next round of voting. voter to go to the polling booth to record his/her vote, the polling station official noted.

However, if the “assign” button has been pressed to “release” voting on the voting unit when the voter refuses to vote, the presiding officer would have to restart the control unit by turning off the power and disconnecting the VVPAT , before switching on the control unit. machine to accept the next vote, he said.

“Power must be turned on after the ‘busy’ indicator turns off and the ‘close’ button becomes functional to close the poll,” he explained.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WhatsNew2Day staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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