Himachal Pradesh saw more than 33,000 voters who pressed for the 'none of the above' (NOTA) option. According to an election official, as many as 33,008 voters chose the NOTA option. In this way, 0.87 per cent voters opted for NOTA out of the total 38,01,793 votes polled in the state on May 19, he said.
Besides, 8,208 (0.22 per cent) votes were rejected for the four Lok Sabha seats of the hill-state, he added. The highest 11,327 voters chose NOTA in Kangra, followed by 8,357 in Shimla, 8,026 in Hamirpur and 5,298 in Mandi, the official said.
He said a total of 29,032 voters (0.9 per cent) had opted for NOTA in the 2014 parliamentary elections.
The highest 3,322 votes were rejected in Hamirpur, followed by 2,567 in Kangra, 1,777 in Mandi and 1,542 in Shimla, the official said.
Commenting on the use of EVMs, the official said there was no chance to get votes rejected as EVMs were being used for the general voters. But, the votes of the soldiers, generally known as service voters, and those of the poll staff, who use ballot papers to exercise their franchise, may be rejected if not properly cast, the official added.
Of the total 53,30,154 registered voters in the four constituencies, 68,028 (1.27 percent) are service voters.
The highest service voters 24,245 are in the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat, followed by 21,836 in Kangra, 13,474 in Mandi and 8,473 in Shimla, a state electoral officer said.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party swept the Lok Sabha elections winning all four seats in the state. The saffron party won Mandi, Shimla, Hamirpur and Kangra with record margins.
Meanwhile, the state Assistant Chief Electoral Officer Harbans Lal Dhiman said the ballot papers had been electronically transmitted to record offices/units of service voters on May 3 itself with envelopes to ensure their voting.
"Subsequently, the service votes were required to reach the concerned Returning Officer before the start of the counting," he added.
There were 46,000 employees deputed as polling staff and they were also eligible to use ballot papers in case they were on poll duty outside their respective parliamentary constituency, the officer added.