Voter can refuse to press EVM button, says poll official

March 13th, 2009 - 7:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, March 13 (IANS) A voter not finding any candidate worth supporting has the right to refuse to vote by not pressing any button on the electronic voting machine even after completing the other formalities in the polling booth, according to a senior election officer.
“A voter is well within his right to refuse to press the EVM buttons even after signing the register and putting ink on his finger. In this way he can officially register his refusal to vote and prevent any bogus vote being cast against his name,” West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Debasish Sen told IANS Friday.

Once the voter informs the presiding officer of his stand, he will be asked to put his sign on a separate register of refusals.

“The provision of refusal to vote is there under Rule 49 (O) of the Conduct of Election Rules - 1961. In case of ballot papers, a voter could easily submit either a blank ballot paper, or put marks against the names of more than one contestants to make his vote invalid.

“But how a voter can record his refusal in the EVM system was not widely publicised so far. So, during the training of polling personnel for the coming polls, we have laid stress on this,” Sen said.

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