NOTA - 2013

None of the Above (NOTA), also known as "against all" or a "scratch" vote, is a ballot option in some jurisdictions or organizations, designed to allow the voter to indicate disapproval of all of the candidates in a voting system. It is based on the principle that consent requires the ability to withhold consent in an election, just as they can by voting no on ballot questions.
Entities that include "None of the Above" on ballots as standard procedure include India ("None of the above"), Greece (λευκό, white, but unrelated to a political party of the similarly sounding name-however it is symbolic only), the U.S. state of Nevada (None of These Candidates), Ukraine (Проти всіх), Spain (voto en blanco), and Colombia (voto en blanco). Russia had such an option on its ballots (Против всех) until it was abolished in 2006.[1] Bangladesh introduced this option (না ভোট) in 2008.[2] Pakistan introduced this option on ballot papers for the 2013 Pakistan elections but later the Election Commission of Pakistan rejected this.[3]
When None of the Above is listed on a ballot, there is the possibility of NOTA receiving a majority or plurality of the vote, and so "winning" the election. In such a case, a variety of formal procedures may be invoked, including having the office remain vacant, having the office filled by appointment, re-opening nominations or holding another election (in a body operating under parliamentary procedure), or it may have no effect whatsoever, as in the state of Nevada, where the next highest total wins regardless.


Blank ballot

Due to the Spanish voting regulations (legislación electoral española), the blank ballot is recognized as None of the above (voto en blanco) but has very little chance to influence the distribution of seats within a democratic election. It is mostly considered as a statistical indicator of candidatures' disapproval. The blank ballots only increase the amount of valid votes, rising up the threshold of votes (3% and 5% depending on the election) which every political party has to overcome to be fully considered. The parties over the threshold get their seats according to the D'Hondt method.

Blank seats (Escaños en blanco)

Since 1999, several political parties[5][6][7][8][9] have arisen in order to make visible the None of the above option in the parliaments and force empty seats. Currently, "Blank Seats" runs for the Congress and Senate elections of the 20th November 2011. Its programme is to leave empty the corresponding assigned seats by not taken full possession of their duties as congressperson, senator, etc. According to law, the seat remains assigned to the elected candidate until the possession act takes place, the elected candidate explicitly refuses or new elections are called. In this way, the political party and its candidates stay free from obligations and are not entitled to receive any money from the public funding scheme for politics.
By voting such option at the local elections in May 2011, the citizens of the villages of Gironella (Barcelona) and Foixà (Girona) were able to reduce the amount of politicians in their councils by one and two respectively.[10][11] Overall, citizenship supported Blank Seats at different municipalities, including Barcelona, with 15582 votes (averaging 1,71% of valid votes).
This party aims to give blank ballots the meaning of representing empty seats if the amount of votes indicate so as for any other party, disbanding the party when such law would be approved.

United Kingdom

Landless Peasant Party

The Landless Peasant Party, which advocates the ownership of land by those who live on it and the replacement of income tax by a flat land tax,[12] and whose leader Derek Jackson gained publicity for standing against then- Prime Minister Gordon Brown in his home constituency in the 2010 elections,[13] include a pledge to add a "None of the above" option to the ballot in all UK elections.[12]

United States

The origination of the ballot option "None of the Above" in the United States can be traced to the Isla Vista Municipal Advisory Council in its 1976 resolution to place this option on the official electoral ballot in Santa Barbara County in California. Then council members Walter Wilson and Matthew Landy Steen introduced the legal resolution to amend existing ballot options for elections from then on. [14][15] In 1978. the State of Nevada adopted "None of the Above" as a ballot option.[16][17][18] In late 1999 in California, citizen proponents of Proposition 23, titled the "None of the Above Act", qualified a new State ballot initiative through circulated petitions submitted to the Secretary of the State. A total of $987,000 was expended in promotion of the ballot option, which was defeated in the March 2000 general election by a margin of 64% to 36%. If passed by the voters, it would have required this new ballot option for all state and federal elective offices, exempting only local judicial races; in determining official election results, the none of the above voter tally would be discarded in favor of the candidate with the greatest number of votes.[19]


The Election Commission of India told the Supreme Court in 2009 that it wished to offer the voter a "None of the above" option at the ballot, which was something that the government had generally opposed.[20] The People's Union for Civil Liberties, a non-governmental organisation, filed a Public-interest litigation statement in support of this.[21]
On 27 September 2013, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the right to register a "none of the above" vote in elections should apply, noting that it would increase participation. The judges said that this "would lead to a systemic change in polls and political parties will be forced to project clean candidates". "Democracy is all about choices and voters will be empowered by this right of negative voting," said the order passed by a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam.[22][23][24]
The "none of the above" (NOTA) choice differs radically from "right to reject" (RTR). Although the votes registered as NOTA are counted, they will not change the outcome of the election process.[25]
The Supreme Court ordered the Election Commission to provide a NOTA button on the voting machine which would give voters the option to choose "none of the above". The Election Commission has said that the judgement will be implemented immediately. Although frequently termed a "right to reject" in India, a former head of the Election Commission has noted that it is not in fact such a thing.[26][27]
The Supreme Court of India ruling in September 2013 that a NOTA option must be implemented does not affect a campaign by the Aam Aadmi Party for RTR. The Aam Aadmi Party's RTR concept is intended to allow a situation whereby if sufficient people vote to reject then the election is voided and a new election would be held.[28]

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