I cast my vote today, for the very first time. For nobody.
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I decided to use 49-O.
If I thought getting an EPIC was an adventure of sorts, the actual voting turned out to be even better.
About two days ago I got to know details about 49-O wherein you can choose to actually cast your vote for noone.
You can get some details at http://lawmin.nic.in/ld/subord/cer1.htm and http://www.jaagore.com/issue/readComment.php?id=1538
My polling both was Evershine School in Sarvagnanagar. This comes under the Bangalore Central constituency.
I had made up my mind to not vote for anyone. When I told the officers there that I chose to not vote for anyone and wished to sign in a register with regard to the same, they stared at me in disbelief. They immediately said, in unison, that it isn’t possible. I told them that I was pretty sure that there is a law which states that I can choose to do this. They kept telling me to vote even then. Don’t waste your vote, they said.
One of officers said he knew about this law but told me that it is better to vote instead of not voting for anyone. They asked me to take about ten minutes to calm down and rethink my decision. I told them I didn’t have ten minutes. They offered me a seat and told me to relax. I was perfectly fine, speaking normally, politely. I was calm and relaxed. I just kept telling them that I would like to sign in the register and not vote for anyone. They knew I wasn’t going to move.
Another officer actually told me, just cast your vote for someone, otherwise it will cause confusion for us.
Another officer opened a book (I suppose it was the rule book with regard to elections), opened the part where it talks about electors choosing to not vote for any candidate. He handed it over to a lady officer and then asked me, one last time, are you sure you want to do this? I had already made up my mind. I told him so.
They put the ink on my finger. I put two signatures in the register where the officer had written ‘refused to vote’ against my name.
And walked out.
I don’t know what happens now. I have officially cast my vote for ‘nobody’. It’s on record. I just hope they do not misuse this vote.
The officers at the polling booth did not seem prepared for what I chose to do. When one of the officers told me to vote since it will cause confusion, I didn’t know what to say to him. He wanted me to cast my vote just because he will have extra work at the end of the day? These officers barely knew what to do. And I do not entirely blame them. Firstly, they haven’t read the rules which are there in a book, which was on their table. Secondly, they need to be educated on what to do in a situation like this.
An electoral officer cannot tell me what I should do. An electoral officer need not tell me that I should vote for ‘someone’. It is my choice. At least, I did not choose to sit at home and be indifferent. I came out and voted. I voted for nobody. ⊕