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Elections 2014: New vote counting method may delay results by few hours

A change in the system of counting ballots this year means that all constituencies have to progress from one round of counting to the next in tandem

The nail-biting finale to the Lok Sabha elections may go on for longer than usual this year, with the Election Commission setting up a new, and somewhat more lengthy system for counting votes, in a bid to ensure accuracy.

Elections 2014: On eve of counting day, party offices tell the story

Security guards on high alert at a counting centre in Mira-Bhayandar, as Election Commission officials await for the big day. The counting of votes will commence from 8 am today. Pics/Sameer MarkandeSecurity guards on high alert at a counting centre in Mira-Bhayandar, as Election Commission officials await for the big day. The counting of votes will commence from 8 am today. Pics/Sameer Markande

The new system was discussed at a session held for counting agents yesterday, where they were told that the counting would take longer than usual this year. In the past, one round of counting would be followed by another in almost immediate succession. This time round, however, things will be done differently.

Also read: Elections 2014 - 3-tier security at 4 counting centres in Mumbai

A counting centre being readied in Vikhroli
A counting centre being readied in Vikhroli

A fresh round of counting will only begin when the preceding round has been completed in all the six assembly constituencies, the numbers have been entered into computers, and the returning officer has announced the results of the round in question.

Also read: Elections 2014 D-Day: India all set to count 550 million votes

Workers neatly stack trunks containing EVMs at another centre in Kalyan
Workers neatly stack trunks containing EVMs at another centre in Kalyan

Only once this ritual is complete can counting agents bring in the other EVM machines and move on to the next round. 

This means that if the first round of counting is completed in one constituency, it will have to wait till counting in all the six constituencies is completed before moving on to the next round. There are 19 rounds of counting in every assembly constituency, and the number may increase to 20 or 21.

Every Parliamentary constituency has six assembly constituencies. A counting agent who was present for the meeting said, “The returning officer has told all the counting officers that they will have to stay longer than usual, to ensure that there is no mistake in the counting. This would delay the results by one to two hours.”

Confirming this, Madhukar Ardaad, returning officer of North Central Mumbai, said, “Yes, only after the tallying of the votes of one round is done, the micro-observers approve the results and the announcement is done, will the second round start. We don’t think it would delay us a lot.”

90,404
Number of EVMs in Maharashtra

Counting table
There will be 84 tables in each parliamentary constituency for counting. In each Assembly segment, there will be 14 tables. At every table there will be a counting supervisor, counting assistant, micro-observer and a class IV government employee

90,404
Number of EVMs in Maharashtra

Counting table
There will be 84 tables in each parliamentary constituency for counting. In each Assembly segment, there will be 14 tables. At every table there will be a counting supervisor, counting assistant, micro-observer and a class IV government employee

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