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Lok Sabha Election Results 2024: Kerala set for June 4; Here's how counting of votes will take place

Kerala is fully prepared for counting votes for the Lok Sabha elections, which will begin at 8:00 am on June 4. Access to the counting halls is restricted to authorized personnel, including counting supervisors, assistants, micro observers, Election Commission representatives, analysts, election duty officials, candidates, and their agents.

Lok Sabha Election Results 2024: Kerala set for June 4; Here's how counting of votes will take place anr
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First Published Jun 1, 2024, 6:30 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Kaul has announced that all 20 centers in the state are fully prepared for counting votes for the Lok Sabha elections, which are scheduled for June 4. Comprehensive measures have been implemented to ensure the vote-counting process is transparent and secure. The process will commence at 8:00 am on June 4 (Tuesday) with the counting of postal ballots. The counting of votes from the voting machines will start half an hour later, following the initial counting of postal ballots.

Only counting supervisors, counting assistants, micro observers, Election Commission representatives, analysts, government officials on election duty, candidates, and their election agents are granted access to the counting hall. The Returning Officer will issue badges to the counting agents indicating the candidate's name and the assigned table number. Additionally, all authorized personnel, including the Election Commission's observer, are permitted to use mobile phones inside the counting room.

In each assembly constituency, a dedicated hall will be designated for the counting of votes. Within each hall, there will be a maximum of 14 tables allocated for counting purposes. At each table, there will be a counting supervisor, who will hold the rank of a gazetted officer. Additionally, a counting assistant and a micro observer will be stationed at each counting table. The primary responsibility of the micro observer is to ensure the transparency and fairness of the vote-counting process.

Counting officers are assigned through a three-stage randomization process to ensure fairness and transparency. The first phase of randomization was completed on May 17. The second and third stages will take place on June 3 at 8 am and on June 4 at 5 am, respectively.

The counting of votes takes place like this:

Strong rooms, where the votes are securely stored, will be opened at the start of the counting process. This will be done in the presence of the Returning Officer, Assistant Returning Officer, candidates or their election agents, and Election Commission observers. The opening procedure includes recording the entry in a log book and unlocking the room with video coverage to ensure transparency and security.

The counting will begin with electronically transmitted postal ballots and postal ballots, which will be counted at the desk of the Returning Officer. The counting of votes from the voting machines will start half an hour later.

The control unit of the voting machine is used to count the votes. Form 17C, which lists the number of votes polled, along with the respective control unit, will be placed on the counting table. Upon delivering the control unit to the counting table, the counting supervisor will inspect the voting machine in the presence of the counting agents. After verifying that there is no damage, the seal will be broken. Under the supervision of the agents, the counting supervisor will press the result button on each machine. The votes received by each candidate will be displayed, shown to the agents, and recorded. 

After all the voting machines have been counted in each round of counting, the Election Commission's observer will select any two machines to verify the recorded count for accuracy. Once this verification is complete, the tabulation for that round will be conducted. The result of the round will then be declared and recorded by the Returning Officer.

At the end of each phase, the Returning Officer will remove the counted voting machines and instruct the staff to bring in the voting machines for the next phase. This ensures a systematic and transparent process throughout the counting phases.

Verification of VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) slips will be conducted only after the counting of votes in the voting machines for all rounds is completed. VVPAT slips will be counted at five randomly selected polling stations in each assembly constituency. The process of counting the slips in a VVPAT machine takes at least an hour. The final verdict of the election results will be announced only after the completion of this VVPAT slip verification process.

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