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Get counting halls ready by Tuesday: EC

Gearing up for the counting of votes in the assembly polls in five states on May 13, the Election Commission has directed authorities to ensure that the counting halls are ready by Tuesday.

delhi Updated: May 09, 2011 16:25 IST

Gearing up for the counting of votes in the assembly polls in five states on May 13, the Election Commission has directed authorities to ensure that the counting halls are ready by Tuesday.

A three-tier cordoning system should also be put in place to guard the counting premises to ensure a trouble-free exercise, which will decide the fate of several political heavyweights in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry, the panel said.

Sending out detailed instructions to the chief electoral officers (CEOs) of these states, the EC said the counting halls should be ready at least three days ahead of the date of counting and also sought a report from them. Emphasising that postal ballots would be taken up for counting first, the EC said in case the victory margin is less than total number of postal ballots received, there should be a mandatory re-verification of all postal ballots.

“In the presence of observer and the returning officer, all postal ballots rejected as invalid as well as the postal votes counted in favour of each and every candidate shall once again be verified and tallied,” the EC official said.

The EVM counting could start 30 minutes after commencement of postal ballot counting. The penultimate round of EVM counting, however, would not commence unless the postal ballot counting was over. “CEOs, during their tours, will specifically review arrangements proposed and inspect as many counting centres as possible,” the EC statement said.

EC observers would also undertake detailed inspection of counting centres during their visit, it said and sought a specific report from them. Elaborating on the security arrangements, the commission said that there should be smooth flow of EVMs between the respective strong rooms and counting halls.

The EC said a proper barricading of the path used for transporting EVMs between the strong room of an assembly constituency and the counting hall should be done so that the transportation is not interrupted.