My wife and I belong to Ward no. 11 ‘Bansinagar-Tata Powerhouse’ in Borivli East, Mumbai. We had good reason to vote None-Of-The-Above because our favored party had not fielded a candidate, thanks to its seat-sharing arrangement with a chor party.
Knowing that the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) has no option for none-of-the-above, we devised our own method. We created an imaginary candidate named “Vivek”. My argument was that if my favored candidate Vivek was not in the list for whatever reason, then nobody could compel me to vote for anyone else.
So, after we had signed and our fingers were inked, my wife went to the EVM and said, “Oh, where is my candidate’s name? He is not mentioned here in this list. So I can’t vote.”
And I went to the EVM afterwards, and said, “What? Vivek’s name isn’t there? I see six candidates, and Vivek is not one of them. Too bad, I can’t vote then.”
The people manning the booth were a bit surprised. One of them said, “See if you want to vote for any of the six candidates that are mentioned.” But when I refused, the booth officer wrote down our voter-numbers on a sheet of paper and noted, “Refused to vote.”
From the reactions of the people in charge of the booth, and the number of names noted down on a sheet of paper, I felt that refusal to vote was not so uncommon. It seems to have happened a few times today in that very booth.
I trust this method is sound. I trust that it does not give scope for someone else to misuse my vote. But I’m open to feedback from those who know more about such things.
(Krishnaraj Rao is a prominent Right-to-Information activist and journalist based in Mumbai. He can be reached at [email protected])
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect BH’s editorial policy.