All arrangements have been completed for the counting of votes of the Assembly election on Friday. District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareed gave directions to all 14 returning officers in this regard. Counting officials and agents of candidates have been issued identity cards to enter the counting centres.

Counting officials and agents are required to be present at the counting centres at 6 a.m. on Friday. Officials will be deputed to counting tables after the randomization to be held in the presence of the Election Commission observer at 7 a.m.

Leaving the counting hall and using mobile phones during counting have been strictly prohibited. Election observers along will be permitted to use mobile phones inside the counting centres. Ten to 14 tables will be arranged for each round of counting for all 14 Assembly constituencies.

Only after the completion of one round will counting of the next round begin. Besides, the observer is required to certify the result of at least two Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in each round.

The results will be declared only after receiving the permission of the observer. The first round counting will begin at 8 a.m. Postal ballots will also be counted simultaneously. First trends would be available from 8.30 a.m. onwards.

Postal ballots received till 30 minutes before the start of counting will be accepted. There will be a slight delay in declaring a result if the margin of victory was less than the total number of postal ballots.

As per the directions of the Election Commission, in such cases all postal ballots including the rejected ones would have to be re-counted.

Mr. Pareed said that communication facilities have been arranged at all counting centres. Separate observers will be deployed for each counting centre. Special security arrangements have been made at all counting centres. Police will be on alert to ensure that celebrations or victory rallies following the declaration of results do not create tensions. Outlets of Beverages Corporation will remain closed on Friday.

Media cell

A full-fledged media cell will be operated at the district collectorate from 7 a.m. Lead positions can be known in real time since the counting centres, the control room at the collectorate and the media cell will be linked via the Trend Software. This time media cell will be opened in all counting centres and media persons will be allowed inside the centres after each round. However, mobile phones will not be allowed inside the centres.

The first trends will be available from 8.30 a.m. on Friday.

More In: KERALA | NATIONAL