'None of the above' vote to be added to ballots: ECP

Published: April 3, 2013

A 'none of the above' box will be available as a voting option on ballot papers this election. DESIGN: EMA ANIS

KARACHI: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) unilaterally decided on Wednesday that a ‘none of the above’ box will be available as a voting option on ballot papers this election, Express News reported.

It has been decided that these empty boxes will be included in the papers after an approval from the prime minister who on the advice of the president according to the 18th amendment will pass an ordinance.

The commission further said that the president has two weeks to approve this motion and that the list of final candidates will be in by April 19.

If the election does take place and a majority of 51% vote none of the above, then the election will be declared null, and a new election will take place, the ECP was quoted as saying.

The ECP plans on including an empty ballot box in the papers shortly.

Last year a discussion about whether the ‘none of the above’ option would be included was addressed and discussed in the ECP but an ordinance was never passed.

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Reader Comments (48)

  • Shareef
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:11PM

    A very good decision. Only suggestion is If ‘none of the above’ votes are more than the highest vote getter no matter what percentage, then the election should be re-held.

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  • Umair
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:13PM

    Now that’s a bit too much. People would stay home rather standing in the line, waiting and then choosing none of the above.

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  • Zubair
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:18PM

    Excellent step taken .. it can be viewd like referendum

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  • Saad
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:23PM

    Excellent decision.Recommend

  • Kumar
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:24PM

    “None of the above” ? What’s the point for adding this option ?
    Everyone wants election to be done on time and everyone wants change. So, why would somebody will for “None of the above” option?
    I urge people of Pakistan; please don’t go for this option, every vote in this election is significant for change.

    Cast your vote for ‘Change’, do not waste it.

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  • Huzaifa zia
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:26PM

    Mark my words “So this group of voter will play a crucial role in the election”

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  • Naeem
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:29PM

    TUQ supporters can vote now ;-)Recommend

  • faisal
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:35PM

    this is funny..election will be held again if 51% people vote for no one..nd what if 51% people again vote for none in by-election?will that seat remain empty forever bcz of low turnout?foolish step of ECP n president must not pass this ordinance.does ECP possess unlimited amount of money to hold elections again n again just bcz of 51% vote for none??huh

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  • Ace
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:38PM

    This is hilarious.

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  • alphabravocharlie
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:40PM

    ECP makes elections a MCQ based national paper….

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  • ayesha
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:46PM

    I don’t agree with this. First of all, ppl who don’t want to vote will never make an effort to register it by leaving their homes in scorching heat and ticking the third box. Secondly, it will still be a flop if this is some kind of assessment technique by the ECP to see how many ppl did not vote for any party, since not all ‘non-voters’ will come to mark this. Thirdly, if, suppose, non voters are 51% or more, the ECP will waste Rs400b spend on the election due to ppl who do not want any party to come into power. This will happen again n again. So y waste so much money. Can Pakistan afford it?
    So the conclusion is that this idea should be cancelled. So please, let’s not create more confusion in the minds of the already confused nation. Let’s bring Imran Khan into power and change Pakistan for the better.

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  • Rabayl
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:56PM

    It is definitely better to cast a vote of abstention than to not show up and sleep the elections off. The philosophy is the same: I don’t have faith in any of them. But if you don’t vote at all, in our system your vote could be cast to another party without your consent (I’m not sure how this happens but enough people believe it does happen, especially in the case of the ghost votes of MQM). When you make a point of going to the ballot box and saying “I don’t trust any of you”, at least your vote is counted and not hijacked. Nadir I’m sure would say “but it really doesn’t matter either way, it doesn’t affect the outcome”.. but at least I won’t be worried somebody might’ve cast a vote for MQM/PPP on my behalf while I decided to stay in bed. Also, a vote of abstention will still be counted in voter turnout numbers. Staying at home and not voting perpetuates the “less than 30% people vote”.. Increasing voter turnout and reflecting voter dissatisfaction in the polls is important.

    Now I know what my vote will be.

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  • hassan mehboob
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:57PM

    This is not a good decision, because the people who don’t want to cast their vote would never go out of their homes and people who want to select to vote any of the member/ party would go out and why they would be selecting this option ‘None of the Above‘?
    And another thing I want to add here is that people don’t have time to go for voting again and again and Ministry of Finance have no sufficient funds to re-held the elections, if they have fund so kindly spent it on some productive works instead of re-holding the elections.

    Thanks

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  • Rahul
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:01PM

    Wow! Pakistan has leaped ahead of India on this front. After all these years, We’re still debating whether to bring a right to reject. Kudos to Pakistani Election Commission for setting the trail. Perhaps our folks will also be woken up from their deep slumber with this move of ECP.

    However, a 51% vote limit defeats the very purpose of the move by making it unworkable in a real situation. It puts ‘none of above’ option at an unequal footing vis-a-vis the candidates who are just required to fetch most (not necessarily majority) number of votes. Given the fact that unlike the candidates, ‘none of the above’ option has no money & muscle power to back it, It seems highly unlikely that all the candidates ( of multiple parties) put together will not be able to garner 49% of total votes polled.

    Still a move in the right direction. Those people who would have otherwise abstained from voting (as they disliked all the candidates), can now put their voice in action.Recommend

  • Asif Khan
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:07PM

    Excellent option.

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  • Z.Khan
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:08PM

    At this stage it will merely be a futile exercise. None of above has its utility provided every one knows its importance and implications. With the scenario prevailing in Paksitan people coming from backward background will hardly be able to understand it. Other option is to publicise it with full resources.

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  • Hairaan
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:12PM

    Useless option. Why should I go to the polling station If do not want to vote in the first place.

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  • Kazim Muneer
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:13PM

    Hats Off to Fakhruddin G. Embrahim and other Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan. This is now a real opportunity for Pakistanis to get rid of corrupted and tested so-called politicians. ECP – Keep up the good work towardsbuilding a better Pakistan!!

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  • Shahid Kamran
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:25PM

    Is this even Constitutional? It is increasingly becoming clear that ECP is working with an agenda. Allowing an option for none of the above is simply disenfranchising the right of those who actually make an effort to take part in the election and those who vote for them.

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  • Hasan
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:29PM

    TuQ demand is accepted; So now they have no excuse to do sit-in on election day.

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  • Najam
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:34PM

    It means if election is declared null and void then same candidates wouldn’t be allowed to run in reelection? Otherwise it’s useless

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  • asim
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:44PM

    A very stupid thing – no body will come to tick this option. All those who abstain on polling day automatically confirm that they don’t support any of running candidates.

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  • untitled
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:46PM

    i think this is great, it makes citizens participate in the electoral process even if they don’t want to vote. it can improve our voting culture by improving participation, which for all we know may lead to higher voter turnouts in the future.

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  • Adnan Rashid
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:54PM

    Great Step by ECP, It will increase the turnout in upcoming election. It maybe another step towards real democracy.

    But some one need to create awareness among the voters. I think TAHIR UL QADRI is a good option, as he already boycott :P

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  • Faraz
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:54PM

    April Fool on 3rd April!!! Too late ET!

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  • Adnan
    Apr 3, 2013 - 6:01PM

    @asim:
    Now the people who do not go to polling station will have no excuse to rue their situation. It is an excellent step. If we want change than we have to get out of our cosy living rooms, defer the biryani and gossip on the Election Day and come out and let our voice be heard.

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  • Mirza
    Apr 3, 2013 - 6:03PM

    Pakistanis have so much time and money that they can continue the election process forever. We are such a peaceful and rich country that we can afford a perpetual election. It is obvious that in a country so divided with many parties, no party would secure more than 50% and none of the above would win most of the time. This is going to help parties like MQM.

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  • syed
    Apr 3, 2013 - 6:09PM

    What is the election symbol assigned to none of the above? I support this move, it is important to participate in elections and this will provide the incentive to people who morally don’t want to vote to any of the corrupt politician.

    In US one can ‘write in’ anyone’s name or anything else and the vote will be counted in turnout and will be reported.

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  • Rashid
    Apr 3, 2013 - 6:13PM

    51% is too much, it should be 30% none of the above and the election should be null.

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  • untitled
    Apr 3, 2013 - 6:16PM

    @ayesha:
    a re-election would prompt renewed inter-party elections that would probably lead to new representatives being put forward. so yes it would be a different situation.

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  • Syedpk
    Apr 3, 2013 - 6:31PM

    To all the single digit IQ persons commenting above, 51% means 51% of the votes casted not 51% of the turn out.
    I for one this is an excellent initiative. And to all the PTI trolls who are opposing this, might I recommend checking back with the party policy of PTI, because it was Imran Khan who gave this idea in the first place (in Pakistan, other countries have this implemented already)

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  • choclat85
    Apr 3, 2013 - 6:32PM

    Very good step by ECP. And I want to clear one thing. If the percentage of more than 50 percent votes none of the above then those candidate cannot run again in that constituency and in that way we will get only those people who we really want in power.

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  • Apr 3, 2013 - 6:35PM

    This is excellent step form ETRecommend

  • Yasser
    Apr 3, 2013 - 6:40PM

    not a practical strategy

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  • Godil
    Apr 3, 2013 - 6:51PM

    great move.
    this is atleast going to show some leaders their true image

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  • Ashar
    Apr 3, 2013 - 6:59PM

    This is done just to make sure TUQ ppl dont have an excuse to stage rallies and disrupt the election process on the day of elections and dont have any excuses. If they do anything of that sort they will be held accountable as they could go and vote for none of the above….zaroorat ejaad ki maan hoti hai……need is the mother of all inventions…lol

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  • Syed Basit
    Apr 3, 2013 - 7:19PM

    I think this very good decision.At this stage it will merely be a futile exercise. None of above has its utility provided every one knows its importance and implications.

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  • HIstorian 1
    Apr 3, 2013 - 7:24PM

    If more than 51% votes are for “none of the above”, this will clarify once and all that majority do not prefer democratic system.

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  • Arshad
    Apr 3, 2013 - 8:00PM

    A very welcome decision. Now no one would sit at home because he/she doesn’t like any of the candidates, but would go to the polling station to express themselves. If the number of ‘none of the above’ votes is the highest, regardless of percentage, such elections should be annulled.

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  • King Kong
    Apr 3, 2013 - 8:49PM

    Did they also consider “All of the above” option as well?

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  • Morons
    Apr 3, 2013 - 9:14PM

    For all those Null-heads who do not understand the importance of this move, here is what it means. If some one from Karachi constituency who do not want to vote for MQM/PPP/JI/ANP but wants IK or PML-N to come and contest from the constituency then they can voice out through this option. Since, Karachi is a strong hold for PPP/MQM no other parties dares to risk its resources in this city and the citizens are left with no other options. This move is to break the status quo.

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  • Rasikh
    Apr 3, 2013 - 11:26PM

    So what if “none of the above” wins the election??? what then???? :P

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  • Wisam
    Apr 4, 2013 - 12:23AM

    Will make a lot of sense if a law is passed to make voting mandatory. Will go a long way in terms of tackling rigging etc. Otherwise, people will just about remain at home instead of standing in a line to “not vote”

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  • Umar Khan
    Apr 4, 2013 - 1:25AM

    Vote for No One. No One will bring Change. No One cares about you. No one is Honest, Clean and Patriotic.

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  • ahma aziz
    Apr 4, 2013 - 6:07AM

    Best For US:

    This is voice of Pakistan AWAMI Tahreek .

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  • Farhan Khan
    Apr 5, 2013 - 12:57AM

    MR Syed Zeeshan Haider has written column in roznama pakistan on 19th March about introducing NOTA in Pakistan. He is also an anchor person of PTV news talk show EVENING TIME. He has also clearly discussed the NOTA in his PTV talk show on 26th March. Link to his article on his website is as follows http://syedzeeshanhaider.com/?p=783 and link to his facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/syedzishanhyder. The gentleman deserves all the appreciation and recognition for his work.

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  • Aina Maria Waseem
    Apr 5, 2013 - 4:35PM

    This option was needed in the last election when PTI was boycotting. It would have been interesting to see how many of us supporters of PTI would have checked on it, just to make a point. Of-course it should be there, for the sake of demographics if nothing else.

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  • Syed Basit
    Apr 9, 2013 - 12:41AM

    It is disappointed news that Election Commission Pakistan has rejected the AC order to give the right of vote for Overseas Pakistani giving reason for on line voting, ECP requires the amendment in the constitution. Experts says without Parliament Executive order can be approved by the President can become the law.

    It looks the ECP does not want to take the headache therefore is making false excuses. Please read the below story of ECC.

    Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) is in trouble as the house he heads is divided over the issue of scrutiny of the election candidates.

     There are speculations that close circles of CEC Justice (r) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim have even advised him to resign ahead of the May 11 polls, leaving the matter to the caretaker government. I hope this is suffice for every Pakistani abroad what respect and honor is being giving to Overseas Pakistani.

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