Election Commission for the Right not to vote: V.S.Sampath

May 4th, 2009 - 10:00 pm ICT by ANI  

Shimla, May 4 (ANI): Election Commissioner V. S. Sampath on Monday advocated an elector’s right not to vote, while saying, but this would have to be given shape through a legislation.

“ECI is in support of providing citizens the right not to vote like their democratic right to vote … but a separate legislation is required to enforce it,” said Election Commissioner V S Sampath here while adding “And you know that right (to bring a legislation) is not with us.”

Sampath, who was visiting Shimla to review poll preparedness in Himachal Pradesh, however, stated that the Election Commission would continue to make efforts in this direction.

At present a person can write down on a piece of paper and give it to polling booth officials that he is not interested in voting, but to provide this facility on EVM (Electronic Voting Machine), a separate law is required, Sampath said.

Sampath, who became Election Commissioner after Navin Chawla was elevated to post of Chief Election Commissioner on retirement of Gopalaswami on 20th April, said that it an effort to ensure voting rights of vulnerable sections of society, the EC this time went for “vulnerability mapping”.

On the basis of past records and inputs provided by officials, areas inhabited by vulnerable section of society who had been deprived of voting rights by “dominant” sections had been marked and security officials directed to facilitate their journey to the polling booth, he said.

Sampath said the Commission would ponder if more steps were required than the existing one to nab a candidate giving “false” affidavit about his or her wealth and other details like criminal records.

On keeping people with criminal background out of elections, he said convicted persons by law are banned but a new aspect was being witnessed in the current poll that such persons are getting their spouse to stand for them and this aspect needs to be discussed.

In reply to a question on the reason for low voter turnout in the ongoing Parliamentary elections, Sampath said the Commission would discuss it after the polls if it was because of excessive heat or some other reasons. (ANI)

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