Erode (East) bypoll | Three-tier security cover in place at counting centre

Electronic Voting Machines used at the 238 polling stations during Monday’s bypoll have been placed at the counting centre at the Government College of Engineering, Chithode; counting of votes will take place on March 2

Published - February 28, 2023 05:28 pm IST - ERODE

Paramilitary and police personnel guarding the entry of a strong room where EVMs used in polling stations for the bypoll to Erode (East) Assembly constituency are kept at the Government College of Engineering in Chithode in Erode

Paramilitary and police personnel guarding the entry of a strong room where EVMs used in polling stations for the bypoll to Erode (East) Assembly constituency are kept at the Government College of Engineering in Chithode in Erode | Photo Credit: GOVARTHAN M

A three-tier security cover has been deployed at the counting centre at the Government College of Engineering (formerly I.R.T.T) in Chithode where the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used in 238 polling stations during the bypoll to the Erode (East) Assembly constituency on February 27 have been kept.

Following the conclusion of Monday’s polling that reported a voter turnout of 74.79%, all EVMs and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines were sealed and transported to the centre and verified by election officials and placed in two strong rooms. The process was completed at 5.30 a.m. on Tuesday and the rooms were sealed in the presence of District Election Officer and Collector H. Krishnanunni, General Observer Raj Kumar Yadav, Returning Officer for the Constituency K. Sivakumar and representatives of recognised political parties. Mr. Krishnanunni reviewed the arrangements for the counting of votes on March 2 and held discussions with officials.

Addressing the media, he said a three-tier security cover: the first layer by paramilitary personnel, the second by armed police personnel and the outer perimeter by police personnel, has been deployed.

“A total of 150 personnel per shift have been deployed, and altogether, 450 personnel have been deployed in three shifts,” he said. Apart from this, strong rooms and pathways from strong rooms to the counting centres are being monitored through 48 closed surveillance cameras and the live feed is connected to monitors that can be viewed by candidates or their representatives. “It is done to ensure transparency,” he added.

To a question that a few EVMs had developed snags and were replaced during the poll, he said EVMS were replaced in two booths and votes polled in all the EVMs would be counted. Asked about the relatively high turnout of voters, Mr. Krishnanunni said voters turning up in large numbers was good.

“As per the instructions from the Election Commission of India, we carried out many Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) activities to ensure a high number of eligible voters came to vote,” he said, adding that the higher turnout could be due to various reasons.

The officer said votes will be counted in 15 rounds across 16 tables by over 100 counting officials. Counting of postal ballots will begin at 8 a.m. while counting of votes will begin at 8.30 a.m., he said.

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