The Lok Sabha election is over and now is the time for counting the votes. In fact, the counting date will be finalized at least a week before announcing the election schedule. Let us find out how the counting of votes is done.
The Counting Of Votes – Who Does It
The votes are counted in the presence of an official called the Returning Officer (RO) assigned to each constituency, the candidates and their agents. A candidate can appoint up to 16 counting agents from their party per counting station. In addition to the RO, candidates, and agents, the election commission will also appoint a counting staff.
The Counting Hall
Inside the counting hall, a number of tables will be placed based on the pre-decided the floor plan. Ideally, the maximum number of tables a counting hall can have is 14. However, there have been exceptions to the rule.
How The Votes Are Counted?
The counting starts with postal ballots. After 30 minutes into the counting of postal ballots, the EVMs are brought in. Once the EVMs are brought in they will be inspected by the counting staff and agents.
The EVMs will be powered and the seal on result button will be removed. When the result button is pressed, the total vote received by each candidate will be displayed on the machine.
The Counting Of Votes – VVPAT Slips
VVPAT slips from 5 randomly chosen polling stations in an assembly segment will be counted. If an EVM fails to display results due to technical issues, the VVPAT count will be taken into account or in case a candidate request for it due to any dispute.
According to Rule 56D (b) Conduct of Election Rules 1961, the VVPAT count will be considered final in case there is a mismatch with the EVEM count.
Declaration Of Results
Once the counting is over, the RO will wait for the candidates to ask for a recount. If none of the candidates request for a recount within the stipulated time, results will be announced on a loudspeaker.
The results will also be announced using the FORM-21C which is the official declaration of a candidate’s victory.
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