The Indian subcontinent is witnessing the biggest democratic exercise in the world, the 17th Lok Sabha Elections. As the last phase of voting concluded on May 19th and we are a day away from the all important counting day, here’s everything you need to know about the day.
What date will the counting be held on?
The counting for the Lok Sabha election 2019 will be held on May 23, Thursday.
How many seats will be counted?
The Lower House of Parliament, for which the elections are being held, has 543 elected members. The counting for all 543 seats will be held on May 23. In addition, counting for state assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim will also be held
What time does counting begin?
The counting usually begins at 8 am
When does it end?
There is no fixed time; it can go on till late in the night, but typically ends in the evenings. The provisional results are known by and large by noon.
However this year the Supreme Court ordered the Election Commission to increase the VVPAT (Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) slips from one EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) per assembly constituency to five. This might result in a delay in the announcement of the results.
What is the process of counting?
Nearly 4000 counting centres will be set up across the country for the counting day. The postal ballots are counted first followed by the votes cast on the EVMs.
The counting occurs in batches of 14 machines in each round. The result of that round is announced immediately after the counting is done in order to prevent any future manipulation.
What is postal ballot?
As the word suggests it indicates being able to exercise your vote in an electoral process without being physically present in the polling booth of your constituency. While India does have a system in place for postal ballots, it is restricted to certain categories of people. The following members may cast their vote through Postal ballots:
- Members of the armed forces like the Army, Navy and Air Force
- Members of the armed police force of a state who are serving outside the state
- People employed under the Government of India in a post outside India, like Ambassadors and High Commissioners and their staff.
- The wives of the above mentioned voters
How do they count the postal ballots?
The postal ballots are counted only at the Returning Officer’s (RO) table.
The voters are provided with Cover A, which contains the ballot paper. The voters are also provided with Cover B, containing Form 13A.
On the counting day, Cover B is opened and attestation in Form 13 A is checked. If it has been properly attested and the number of Postal Ballot written in 13 A, matches with the number written on Cover A, only then is Cover A opened and ballots counted.
How is counting done when Lok Sabha and assembly elections are held simultaneously?
Counting for both is done in the same counting hall. One side of the hall is reserved for counting of Lok Sabha votes while the other is reserved for the state assemblies.
Where is the counting of votes held?
According to the Election Commission, the preferred location where counting is conducted is the constituency’s district headquarters. Counting cannot be held inside a temporary structure without prior permission from the ECI.
Who is allowed inside a counting station?
The officials assigned duties for counting day and also the counting agents appointed by political parties are allowed into a counting station with an entry pass.
Representatives from political parties are also shown the strong room, where EVMs are stored, before the counting.
Who is responsible for counting of votes and declaration of results?
The Returning Officer (RO) is responsible for the declaration of the result within his/her constituency. The Election Commission declares the results of all constituencies.