Elaborate arrangements are under way for the counting of votes polled in the byelection in the Kannur Assembly constituency.

Sixty officials from Kasaragod district will be assigned the duty for counting 1,03,573 votes registered in the

electronic voting machines (EVMs) and 517 postal ballots. Nearly 100 officials will be appointed for additional duties including compilation and tabulation.

Announcing the arrangements made at the counting centre at the St. Michael's Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School here, District Collector P.B. Saleem said at a press conference here on Monday that the strong-room where the EVMs had been kept would be opened at 7 a.m. on November 10 and the counting would start at 8 p.m. There would be 14 tables for counting votes registered in total 132 EVMs used in the byelection. Three tables would be used for counting the postal ballots which would be accepted till 8 p.m. on the counting day. Counting officials and counting agents of candidates had been instructed to report at the counting centre at 6 p.m, the Collector said.

Mr. Saleem said that each table would have a counting supervisor and a counting assistant as well as a Central government official as a static observor. Each candidate could appoint a counting agent for each table and one agent for the table of the Returning Officer, he said adding apart from the counting officials and agents, the candidates and their election agents would also be allowed to enter the centre. A three-tier police security arrangements would be put in place at the counting centre and its surroundings, he said.

Mr. Saleem said that the counting was expected to be completed by 11 a.m. There would be a facility outside the counting centre to display for the public the progress of the counting, he said.

He said that during the polling, 2200 votes had been polled using alternative documents prescribed by the Election Commission other than the electoral photo identity cards (EPIC). Of the 852 voters included in the ASD list (list of voters identified as absentee/shifted/dead in an official verification), 511 had cast their votes. Polling had been totally peaceful and complaints-free, he said, adding that neither the candidates nor political leaders had raised any complaints such as booth rigging and voter intimidation at the scrutity held here on November 8 as per the Election Commission's direction.

There were two booths where the number of votes polled was higher by 15 per cent or above of the average Assembly election polling, Mr. Saleem. The number of booths where over 10 per cent of voters included in the ASD list had polled their votes was less than 70, he said. A complaint against the checking of EPIC by the Central police force personnel outside the booths was sent to the EC, he said adding that there would be follow-up under the EC's direction on the complaints regarding the voters allegedly got enrolled in the voters list using fake residency certificates, he addd.

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