The seven-phase election process for Lok Sabha and for four state assemblies spanning over a one-and-half month came to an end on May 19. All eyes are now on Thursday (May 23) when the results will be announced.
Indications are that by Thursday afternoon, the trend would become clear as to which party is forming the next government.
Lets take a look at how votes are counted:
- Only the returning officer, the candidates with their respective election agents, counting agents, public servants on duty and authorised election commission agents are allowed in the vicinity where votes are being counted.
- The Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are inspected by the counting staff and agents before the counting begins.
- Postal Ballot (PB) papers are counted first.
- The counting of EVM votes begins 30 minutes after the PB counting starts.
- After counting of one round is over the EVMs are resealed.
- After every round the returning officer pauses for two minutes during which the candidate or the election agent can ask for a recount.
- The returning officer decides if a recount request is valid and acts accordingly.
- Following the resolution of discrepancies, the returning officer seeks the observers’ clearance and announces the result.
- The returning officer reports the result to the EC and appropriate authority.
The introduction of the EVM in totality since the 2004 general elections, has seen reduction in time in both casting a vote and declaring the results compared to the old paper ballot system. Added to that, bogus voting has greatly been reduced as the vote is recorded only once.