Explained: The victory of the candidates is written on 15 tables and 1 blackboard, who counts the votes, know the entire process of counting votes

Ananya Shroff
8 Min Read

New Delhi: Now everyone is waiting for the results of the elections for the 18th Lok Sabha in the country. Will the ruling Narendra Modi government come to power for the third consecutive time or will the opposition Bharat Gathbandhan be able to make a big upset. While the ruling party is excited by the exit poll results, the opposition is still adamant on its claim of victory. It remains to be seen who wins on June 4. Before that, let us also know about the counting of votes. After all, how is the counting done, who does it and if any irregularity is found, then whom can we go to complain to. Let us understand all the important questions related to counting.

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Who are the counting agents and why are they necessary?

This is the representative of the candidate. His job is to keep an eye on the counting process throughout the day until the counting is completed. He informs the party or candidate about any kind of irregularity. The counting agent helps in keeping the counting process transparent.

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Who cannot be made a counting agent?

Any counting agent should be a citizen of India. He should not be less than 18 years of age and should have an understanding of the counting process. A sitting MP, MLA, minister, mayor or chairman of a municipality, taluka or district council cannot be made a counting agent. Similarly, government employees and people associated with institutions cannot become counting agents.

Where is the counting of votes taking place?

The Returning Officer (RO) has to inform every candidate in writing about the exact location of the counting hall. This information has to be given to the RO 7 days before the date of polling is fixed. For an assembly seat, usually all the votes are counted at one place. Whereas, for a Lok Sabha seat, the votes are counted at many places. Usually this counting takes place in the center of the Lok Sabha constituency.

How many counting agents can there be?

The returning officer asks each candidate to arrange tables for the counting hall. Usually, there are a maximum of 15 tables where votes are counted. The 15th table is for the returning officer. The votes are counted at the remaining 14 tables. A candidate can deploy a counting agent for each table. The returning officer decides who will sit at which table.


This is how the arrangement is done in the counting hall

Which votes will be counted first?

The Election Commission has directed that the postal ballots will be counted first. These postal ballots are of the security personnel, polling officers, polling agents and government officials, army personnel and government employees engaged in the elections. The votes recorded in the EVMs are counted only 30 minutes after the counting of postal ballots is over. These are counted under the supervision of the Returning Officer (RO) or Assistant Returning Officer (ARO). This Returning Officer is usually the District Magistrate.


The vote counting process has been made completely transparent

Understand here how the votes recorded in EVM are counted

There are three things in an Electronic Voting Machine i.e. EVM- Ballot unit, on which the voter presses the button for his/her favourite candidate. Control unit, in which the record of the voter's choice is recorded. Third, there is VVPAT unit, from which the voter's choice slip comes out and is visible on it. After the voting is over, the EVM is kept in the strong room.


Counting of votes continues amid tight security in the counting hall

EVM counting will begin 30 minutes after the counting of postal ballots.

Counting of votes recorded in the control unit of EVM starts 30 minutes after counting of postal ballot votes. Suppose the votes of control unit of polling station 1 are to be counted, then it will be placed on table number 1. Similarly, other control units will also be placed. After counting them, with the permission of RO or ARO, the result is displayed on the blackboard, white board or TV set placed in front of all the tables in the hall. It is mandatory to bring Form 17-C with every control unit, which contains the record of votes cast at the respective polling station.

Navbharat TimesCounting of votes for Lok Sabha elections will begin at 8 am, the entire process will be captured in videography, understand

How to open the control unit, understand the whole process

The control unit is brought to the counting hall in closed boxes amid tight security. Every control unit has a unique ID. The counting officer matches this unique ID with the unique ID recorded in Form 17-C. It is also brought to the counting hall along with the control unit. After the votes are recorded, the control unit is sealed. It is opened on the day of counting in the presence of counting officers and counting agents. If the ID number of the control unit does not match the ID number in Form 17-C, then the counting agent can lodge an objection. If the ID numbers do not match, then the votes will be counted from the VVPAT slip attached to the control unit. If everything goes well, the result button will be pressed on the control unit, after which the complete count of votes according to the candidate will be displayed.


The results of the 18th Lok Sabha elections will be declared on the same day

What Rule 56D of the Election Rules, 1961 says

According to Rule 56D of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, if a candidate applies to the Returning Officer for permission to count the VVPAT slips, the Returning Officer can grant this permission on these grounds. For example, the total number of votes cast at the polling station is less or more than the margin votes of the winning candidate and the applying candidate i.e. the losing candidate. Or the EVM and VVPAT malfunctioned on the day of polling and were replaced. Apart from this, if a complaint is made about not receiving the VVPAT slip after casting the vote, then this permission can also be given.

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