More voters are likely to choose NOTA or ‘none of the above’ option in the upcoming elections if they don’t find candidates with good antecedents, and it should be an area worth analysing post the 2023 Karnataka assembly elections, former chief election commissioner (CEC), Dr Nasim Zaidi, said on Monday. He was talking about the impact that the information on the electoral process and candidates will make on voter turnout and their choices, at a webinar organised by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
“My own view is that the spread of information about criminal antecedents is not having an impact on voters. The only measurement probably which you could see after this election is whether dissemination of this information shifts voters towards NOTA,” Zaidi said.
“They come out in large numbers but they don’t find candidates with good antecedents. Therefore, instead of not voting they shift to NOTA. Probably that would be an emerging feature if we are so optimistic about this information having an impact on voters. This could be an area worth analysing post-election,” the former CEC said.
The ADR webinar focused on the analysis of criminal and financial background, education, gender and other details of MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 and 2023, innovative strategies to address voter apathy and encouraging informed and ethical voting, transparency and accountability in the seizure of cash, liquor, etc. by the Election Commission of India (ECI) during elections and action taken against defaulting political parties, etc, among others.