Grandma's Tales

February 20, 2007

Did I go and vote?

Filed under: Games People Play,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 10:52 pm

Yes. I read some psychobabble that there are people who deliberately opt to do things very different from what others think they would do. Now I know it’s true. I did go out and vote in the (by, not bye) elections to the Chennai corporation. All my colleagues had said bye-bye-elections and so were very surprised to see the black ink on my finger. This is what happened.
I went to the Government High School on Beach Road Thiruvanmiyur, walked into the area for women and checked the list of voters. My name was there on the voters’ list, I had a voter ID and all this established me as a bona fide voter.
I asked for the form for not voting.
The man with the list looked at me quizzically and said, “What?” (The Tamil equivalent of “Pardon me” is a long sentence.) I repeated my request. The man said, “Please go to the PRO officer.” Was that Poll Related Offences? Another example of how men have evolved into great defenders – of themselves. The PRO was a woman.
I crossed the room to the table where the PRO stood. I repeated my request. “What is that?” she asked.
“It is a form that I fill up if I am not voting for anyone. It allows me to say, “None of the above”.
“Are you sure there is a form like that?”
“Yes. Very sure. Newspapers advised us to ask for this form if we didn’t want to vote for anyone.”
“Does the form have a number?”
“You should know. Were you given an orientation course for poll duty?”
She glared at me and began to shuffle the papers on the table. She looked around the room for help. Her colleagues did not spring to her defence. They did not even stand up. They just watched.
I said, “It’s form 13. You could look that up in the book of instructions.”
“Oh, yes. I can see the instruction here. So there is a form for it. But I don’t have it.”
“No one gave it to you?”
“No.” At this point she asked the others, “Does anyone know about this form?” Silence.
“Do you have a list of the forms?” I asked.
“Yes.” She found it and began to look through. I peeked, and pointed out, “You have put a tick mark against all the other stuff you have, but the line that says “form for not voting” has been struck off.”
“Yes! That’s true! That form was never given to us!” Sigh! No, she wasn’t going to escape.
“Do you want to check in the other rooms?”
Now the list man decided to come to the aid of the damsel in distress. He said, “I don’t think anyone has it. None in this booth.”
“But I don’t want to vote for anyone. I have to record it or someone else will vote for me. And see, your consolidation form has a column for “Number of voters saying no”.
“We’ve never filled it up. Why do you want a problem? Just vote and go, please.”
Were they saying my vote was invalid anyway? I stood there. And said grandly, “It may be a problem for you. For me, it is a right.”
The man had a brainwave. He said, “We have to get in touch with the zonal officer. (That sounded like, “We’re now calling the police”).
“Please call him. May I speak to him?”
Quickly, “No, he is not available.” Probably in the bathroom? “Come after lunch. By that time we’ll make some arrangement. And BTW, when you come back, we’ll see that you don’t stand in the queue.”
Democracy at work!



  1. what happened? Eventually?

    Comment by swami — February 23, 2007 @ 12:22 pm | Reply

  2. and what happened when u went after lunch? did u go?

    Comment by nandhu — February 23, 2007 @ 2:22 pm | Reply

  3. ya, very surprise.. No vote (‘none of the above’ in EVM) is not shared or awareness for such options is almost none. I wonder, why media is pickup some crap about movie stars,.. and why cannot they write about this in details..

    another unfortunate thing is– few known about this(educated) doesn’t vote…


    Comment by yuva — February 23, 2007 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

  4. Hi swami, Hi nandhu, here’s the rest of the story. I came out of the partition and laughed enough to have my husband worried. [1]Would the “zonal” as they referred to him, really appear and solve the matter? [2] Were they really expecting a “queue”? Yes, I did go back. The “zonal” was not there/had not been consulted, but then I had little time. I wasn’t planning to spend the whole day casting my ballot, or in this case, refusing to cast my ballot. The polling officials I had seen in the morning were nowhere in sight – may be it was lunch time for them. Some other guys were manning the place. I quietly handed in my chit, got my finger smeared with ink and marked the ballot paper. I made sure no one got my vote.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — February 23, 2007 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

  5. Hi yuva, as I said in the post, the newspapers did talk about this. The Catalyst member they had consulted had said: “Not having the EVM is a blessing. It does not have the “None of the above” option. So ask for the form and fill it up if you don’t support any of the candidates. This will prevent others voting in your name.” And you are right. The educated don’t vote. And that is the tragedy.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — February 23, 2007 @ 9:11 pm | Reply

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