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An idea for NOTA voting option being specific to a party

February 7, 2015

In India we have a multi-party system unlike other democracies like US. Now some people call for a two party system in India, for various reasons, one of them being that a category of vote (opposition vote typically) gets split. But IMHO the two-party system is very rigid, with no space for new kind of politics. Could the Occupy Wall Street movement, have resulted in a new party in the US (just like AAP happened after our Lokpal movement), in a multi-party system? Perhaps, yes.
Now democracy is about people’s say. And with time people are going to have more and more say in it. Example some European governments have started to have lots of referendums. AAP also was a trend setter by doing it using SMS on some issues.

In an election, often everybody also has a strong opinion on who should not win. NOTA option was added in the recent past, for articulating such desires. But NOTA, is useless as of now. Has there been a single case of it being meaningful? That it came on top? I think, not.
So, what if we add one more detail to it? Of that of the party you are voting against i.e. NOT this party ( NOT ) e.g. NOT Congress.

It will help in seeking negative desires of the electorate. Which is a very valid thing. For example, some body might hate ‘dynasty politics’, somebody else might hate ‘communal politics’, while somebody else might vote against ‘anarchy’.
It can have two variants.

First variant: Each voter casts two votes one for and one against. For e.g. somebody might vote for BJP and against AAP. The winner gets decided in this case, based on largest +ve vote and the -ve vote below a certain threshold (e.g. 30% of total votes polled). It would perhaps be wrong to take just the difference between +ve and -ve votes, as some random independent who just gets 2000 +ve votes, with no -ve, might emerge a winner. And we obviously don’t want that.

Second variant: Each voter casts just one vote. So can be a +ve vote for somebody or a -ve vote for somebody else. In this case, I guess it would be safer to take a simple difference, for the winner. But the winner should have at least got some threshold of +ve votes (e.g. > 10% of votes polled). This is again to not have random independents as winner.

I know it could have some drawbacks. But the electoral process can’t be static in time. Especially taking into account the progress in technology, There is no reason, why we won’t have more complex election process in future, and which are not as expensive. May be issue based elections. For example, voting if a dam should be constructed or not, or should we adopt GM crops or not. Of course the electorate may also be devised in a sophisticated way for that, rather than the same set of MPs (LS and RS) voting on all issues. But that’s perhaps the future. And it needs to get better now.

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