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Right to Reject!

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Thinker13
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Posted 10/24/11 - 10:27 AM:
Subject: Right to Reject!
Right to reject is a novel idea as an electoral reform of most radical nature in India and I must say a very optimistic one for democracies. Right to reject is simply to have a “None of the above” option for voters, which means that the voter rejects all of the candidates and is not willing to give his vote to anyone of the listed candidates. Well, what happens then?

If in a constituency this “None of the above” candidate receives maximum number of votes this represents general consensus of the persons voting in that constituency against choosing anyone of the listed candidates. In such a case, all of the candidates who contested will be rejected and will not be able to contest in the election again.

Team Anna is not the first team to have raised voice in support of bringing ‘Right to Reject’ bill as an electoral reform. As early as in 2001, National Election Commission proposed the same because of rising general support for this and since then many NGOs in India have filed this plea repeatedly.

In 2004 too National Election commission re-proposed this idea but it did not get much support. Very recently though, in spite of rising pressure by Team Anna and other NGOs for radical poll reforms, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi opined against ‘Right to Recall' or ‘Right to Reject' elected representatives, warning that any such electoral rule will “destabilise” the country. He suggests that India is such a big democracy that such a reform is not likely to work. Moreover, he has also expressed that in constituencies like Jammu & Kashmir which are already suffering from much agitation and where conducting an election is already a nightmare; such reforms are only going to cause more alienation!

What do you think of such a reform? Do you concur with Mr Quraishi?
henry quirk
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Posted 10/24/11 - 2:58 PM:

I've been in favor of 'none of the above' for a god-awful long time, but only in the form you describe above, Thinker, that is, "all of the candidates who contested (if NotA gets the majority of votes) will be rejected and will not be able to contest in the election again".

NotA is used sparingly here in the states, and -- in many cases -- is null and void from the start.

Often, if NotA gets the majority vote, the person with second largest numbers of votes is the winner. What a crock!

I think NotA is a fine way to reorder the powers that be, but only if it has teeth (which is, unfortunately, a really good reason why it hasn’t, and probably never will be, become common practice).
Thinker13
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Posted 10/25/11 - 10:02 AM:

henry quirk wrote:


NotA is used sparingly here in the states, and -- in many cases -- is null and void from the start.

Often, if NotA gets the majority vote, the person with second largest numbers of votes is the winner. What a crock!


Yes, I fail to understand that if there are no implications of NotA getting highest number of votes---what is the use?

henry wrote:

I think NotA is a fine way to reorder the powers that be, but only if it has teeth (which is, unfortunately, a really good reason why it hasn’t, and probably never will be, become common practice).


Indeed, here in India too, in spite of rising public appeal 'for' it, the chances of its ever getting implemented seem too Saturnine!
libertygrl
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Posted 10/25/11 - 4:30 PM:

According to the bill, what happens when NotA is the majority vote? The incumbent remains in office while another election is held?
Thinker13
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Posted 10/26/11 - 1:43 AM:

libertygrl wrote:
According to the bill, what happens when NotA is the majority vote? The incumbent remains in office while another election is held?



As per the version specified in my post ( proposed here in India), yes, another election is held! But as per what Henry has suggested for USA, it seems that the candidate with second highest number of votes is elected in the same election ( You know that already and I am just rephrasing it!)
libertygrl
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Posted 10/28/11 - 1:04 PM:

still forming an opinion... i'm curious to know the details of how the re-election is handled in the version you mentioned thinker. so, let's say NotA gets the majority vote. how long before a re-election is held? presumably new candidates need time to be selected and to campaign. also, what happens if NotA is the majority vote a second time? does the incumbent continue to preside in office?

i'm not sure but i think there are some arguments against having an incumbent preside too long. i personally don't see anything wrong with it but there may be more to it than i'm not aware of. any thoughts?
Thinker13
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Posted 10/28/11 - 1:39 PM:

libertygrl wrote:
still forming an opinion... i'm curious to know the details of how the re-election is handled in the version you mentioned thinker. so, let's say NotA gets the majority vote. how long before a re-election is held? presumably new candidates need time to be selected and to campaign. also, what happens if NotA is the majority vote a second time? does the incumbent continue to preside in office?

i'm not sure but i think there are some arguments against having an incumbent preside too long. i personally don't see anything wrong with it but there may be more to it than i'm not aware of. any thoughts?



To be honest, those details are very much needed to form an opinion and I am not equipped with them because I could not find them either. The idea is quite new in India and I found very meager information over web.

As far as rule of incumbent goes, here in India, usually prime minister rules along with a cabinet of ministers but in case of emergencies ( such as one borne out of 'Right to Reject', for example) usually president rules. President here in India is an independent body ( generally a dummy agent just for namesake ) not belonging to any party.
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