EC issues guidelines as date for counting draws close

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has asked the officials drafted for counting duties to take up the counting of postal ballots in the first half an hour of the commencement of counting, which would be followed by counting of votes polled in the electronic voting machines.

The postal ballot counting in the first 30 minutes is confined to places where they are being counted. The commencement of counting of votes polled in the EVMs with respect to other Assembly segments of the respective Parliamentary constituency need not wait if they are held in different counting places.

As the date for counting, May 23, is drawing closer, EC Principal Secretary Sumit Mukherjee addressed a communication to the Chief Electoral Officers of States and Union Territories on the process that should be adopted for counting of votes, thereby clarifying the doubts raised on the counting procedure.

Responding to a request from CEOs and ROs to allow counting of postal ballots in separate halls/enclosures/areas considering the large number of postal ballots, the Commission said not more than 500 postal ballots would be counted on the returning officer’s table. In case of large number of postal ballots, the ROs could put more than four tables for counting the postal ballots subject to the availability of space at the counting centre.

However, in peculiar scenarios where very a high number of postal ballots are received and there is shortage of space for keeping more than four tables, the ROs could make arrangements for a separate hall adjacent to the counting hall for counting the postal ballots.

On the question whether deferring the penultimate round of EVM counting on account of counting of the postal ballots is applicable in all the places in the Parliamentary constituency, the EC clarified that there was no need to withhold counting of votes polled in EVMs in all segments.

“Only counting of votes in EVMs of the counting centres where the postal ballot counting is going on shall be deferred,” the EC said in its communication.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 8:33:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/ec-issues-guidelines-as-date-for-counting-draws-close/article27141819.ece

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