Ballot papers to have ‘none of the above’ column

Published: June 19, 2012
If the majority go with the option, candidates could stand rejected.

If the majority go with the option, candidates could stand rejected.

ISLAMABAD: For the forthcoming elections, over 80 million eligible voters in the country will be given a novel choice- for the first time, they will be able to reject all candidates of their constituency by stamping ‘none of the above’ column (NOTA) in ballot papers.

The change is likely to be included in the ballot papers for the next general elections.

Under the new scheme, at the very end of the ballot paper containing names as well as election symbols of the contesting candidates, there will be a NOTA column.

If one feels that none of the candidates are aptly qualified to represent the constituency at the national forum, all that needs to be done is check the NOTA box.

If the majority of the total electorates opt for NOTA, the standing candidates would be automatically rejected and a run-off will be announced, until a clear winner emerges from the contest.

The implications are quite interesting, to say the least.

For example, if in a constituency of 60,000 voters, a candidate acquires 20,000 votes, he would have had fair chance of winning the contest earlier.

However, if 20,001 candidates check the NOTA box now, it would imply that the election results stand void, even if the other candidates have not been able to register significant gains at all.

According to officials of the ECP, acting chief election commissioner Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan has constituted a steering committee to put forward concrete proposals that can be implemented in the next general elections.

Headed by the acting secretary, the committee includes provincial election commissioners as well as various officials of the ECP.

Columns like ‘NOTA’ already exist in some countries and the committee plans to analyse all the existing models before it presents its final proposals.

“The committee is also working on the feasibility of increasing the number of polling stations, so that no polling station is more than two kilometres away from a constituency’s voters,” said an ECP official, while talking to The Express Tribune.

In order to discourage political parties which bar women from casting votes in a particular area, the ECP is considering proposals to withdraw such a party’s candidate from the contest.

The ECP had already sent proposals to the ministry of law and justice, asking it to enact a law which makes it mandatory that the total number of votes cast from any area should comprise at least 10 per cent of women’s ballots.

However, legislation regarding that proposal still needs to be undertaken.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Jun 19, 2012 - 9:02AM

    Interesting and a good move


  • MAD
    Jun 19, 2012 - 10:04AM

    No no one will win then.


  • Ahmed
    Jun 19, 2012 - 10:08AM

    Elections will never end..


  • NBajwa
    Jun 19, 2012 - 10:56AM

    I know who im voting for ;) :D


  • sidjeen
    Jun 19, 2012 - 11:00AM

    stupid decision. what if say for example in a constituency one candidate has a clear majority and two other candidates knowing fully well that they dont stand a chance against him individually form an alliance to ask their supporters to check the NOTA column. the one with the majority will never be able to claim victory.


  • M Ali Khan
    Jun 19, 2012 - 11:16AM

    I like this. Great way of making voting choices more honest for the people rather than “choosing the lesser evil”.


  • Ajamal
    Jun 19, 2012 - 12:24PM

    There should be no winner if 50% of the votes cast are not taken a single candidate.


  • Farhan
    Jun 19, 2012 - 1:03PM

    A very sensible option. Parties should be forced to abandon those candidates and nominate new ones, otherwise the whole exercise will fail


  • Jun 19, 2012 - 1:12PM

    If Women get rights to vote in Saudi Arabia will it make a difference? It will still be a monarchy and a country with no rights for its people.

    Similarly, Pakistan has to become a Democracy first. I do not consider Democracy minus Civilian Supremacy a Democracy at all!!

    First get the military to obey the civilians, then any reform such as this will be meaningful.


  • Hamid
    Jun 19, 2012 - 2:10PM

    It will become easier for the party winning the election to re-run the election in that constituency.
    Interesting but not good move unless the same person is bared from contesting or committee of that constituency is not nominating candidate who is impartial and clean.


  • Eeman
    Jun 19, 2012 - 3:00PM

    They forget that it’s not mandatory to vote in Pakistan. It makes sense to have ‘none of the above’ option in countries where it’s mandatory to vote.
    Why’d anyone like to go to polling station if he’s to chose none but ‘none of the above’?


  • Muslim
    Jun 19, 2012 - 4:41PM

    i hate elections i hate democracy i hate liberism i hate secularism


  • uc
    Jun 19, 2012 - 4:52PM

    It is the right move. If NOTA is the winner then it should also mean that not only will the election of that constituency be redone but also all the existing candidates stand disqualified for the re-election.


  • Maher
    Jun 19, 2012 - 5:24PM

    instead of NOTA, their should be a LOTA column as well..


  • Anwar Ahmad
    Jun 19, 2012 - 5:53PM

    Fir enough. This should have been included since the beginning.


  • Maverick
    Jun 19, 2012 - 7:50PM

    good step by ECP……it must be implemented here…


  • PPP Fan
    Jun 19, 2012 - 11:12PM

    This is a conspiracy against the Pakistan People’s Party.Recommend

  • LionOfPunjab
    Jun 20, 2012 - 1:58AM

    I am going to run for president in the next the presidential election! Please remember my name, None of the Above khan..son of All of the Above khan, from lahore. :) I am going to win with a landslide.


  • gp65
    Jun 20, 2012 - 5:16AM

    @Eeman: “Why’d anyone like to go to polling station if he’s to chose none but ‘none of the above’”

    To force a different set of candidates


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