Thursday, January 27, 2005

Right to vote negative

One of the silver bullets being proposed for improving the quality of the Indian Democracy has been the negative vote. It has several forms but essentially entails letting voters do something more than just select one of the contestants for their vote to count.

One suggestion that went around was to let voters "invalidate" their vote, or select "None of the above". The winning candidate would then have to win more votes than the "None of the above" votes.

Another suggestion is to actively allow voters to vote against a given candidate. The number of negative votes that a candidate gets would then count to subtract from his/her number of valid votes in deciding the final count.

While not a panacea against booth-capturing and mass proxy or bogus voting, which is generally rampant in the country, it will certainly go someway in making it more difficult to violate the sanctity of the elections.

The EC recently told the Supreme Court that they (the EC) would support a negative vote. The matter went to court after the then Govt vetoed the suggestion during the last parliamentary elections.