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Return of ‘none-of-the-above’ voting option proposed

October 16, 2013, 16:03 UTC+3
If none-of-the-above graph gathers most of the votes, the election will be announced void
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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Valeriy Sharifulin

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Valeriy Sharifulin

MOSCOW, October 16 (Itar-Tass) - If none-of-the-above graph gathers most of the votes, the election will be announced void, says the bill submitted to the State Duma Wednesday by the Federation Council members and its speaker, Valentina Matvienko.

District election commissions will “declare the elections void if the number of valid ballots accounts for less than 25% of the eligible voters, or if the number of voters who opted for the none-of-the-above graph exceeds the number of votes for the candidate who won in this constituency”.

The Federation Council also suggested complementing the law On the Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights with a provision saying that elections should be deemed invalid if “in a single-seat district or unified district the number of votes cast for the candidate who gathers the largest number of votes as compared to those for another candidate/other candidates is less than the number of none-of-the-above votes”.

Matvienko put forward the idea of reinstating the none-of-the-above graph in late September.

“September’s local elections have shown we are now living in a new political environment, amid increasing political rivalry. I suggest we should bear that in mind and consider renewing the none-of-the-above graph,” she said.

“The poor voter turnout at the elections in September showed that quite a few people saw no parties and candidates they would like to support,” explained Matvienko. She believes that “reinstating the none-of-the-above box would give the people wider opportunities to express their will in the election”. Matvienko added that “voting against all candidates listed on the ballot is the opportunity for citizens to use their right to support none of the candidates and none of the parties, and to state that loudly and clearly.”

Matvienko is sure that passing the bill would give the authorities, parties and society “a clearer picture of the political forces' lineup in the country and of the state of the public mind.”

The head of the upper house’s committee on constitutional law, legal issues and civic society development, Andrey Klishas, noted the bill's reliance on resolutions by the Constitutional Court. They stipulate that voters are free to express their will not only by voting for or against any of the candidates, but also by voting against all candidates listed on the ballot paper.

“In 2004 the Constitutional Court ruled declaring no confidence in any of the candidates on the ballot paper was an element of subjective electoral right,” Klishas explained .

The none-of-the-above option was removed from the the ballot papers in 2006.


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