The Commission said it has been brought to its notice that there have been certain cases where electors have marked their first preference against one of the candidates but have mentioned their subsequent preference against 'NOTA' by either using a cross mark or mentioning subsequent preference such as 2, 3 or 4.

It has led to the rejection of the ballot paper. In the light of such cases, the Commission has considered the matter afresh and issued a series of instructions. EC said marking against NOTA will be by way of writing figures 1, 2 or 3 as in the case of marking preference for candidates.

"If preference '1' is marked against NOTA, it shall be treated as a case of not voting for any of the candidates and such ballot paper shall be treated as invalid even if '1' is also marked against any other candidate in addition to being marked against NOTA," said the instructions.

The EC said if the first preference is validly marked against one of the candidates and the second preference is marked against NOTA, the ballot paper will be treated as valid for the candidate for whom the first preference has been marked.

The none of the above option was introduced by the Election Commission in 2013 following a Supreme Court judgement.

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