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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Tallying of VVPAT slips may delay results in Jharkhand by 3-4 hours

Even though the counting of votes will begin from 8 am, declaration of results might be delayed by three to four hours due to counting of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), as the Supreme Court’s guidelines, election officials said.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 21, 2019 14:54 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
lok sabha elections 2019,lok sabha polls in jharkhand,LS polls counting day
Women voters waiting in queue for their turn to cast their vote in a polling booth in Dumka during the last phase phase of Lok Sabha elections, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Counting of votes will take place on May 23. (ANI )

With the four-phase polls in 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand having ended on Sunday, all eyes are now on the counting of votes on May 23.

Even though the counting will begin from 8 am, declaration of results might be delayed by three to four hours due to counting of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), as the Supreme Court’s guidelines, election officials said.

“Five booths will be selected randomly from each assembly segment of 14 parliamentary constituencies. After counting of votes cast via Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), VVPATs of these booths would be counted,” said Vinay Kumar Choubey, additional chief electoral officer (ACEO). Choubey said that VVPAT counting in each booth would take an additional 40-45 minutes, which means counting of VVPATs in five booths would take more than three hours. Jharkhand has 81 assembly segments spread across 14 parliamentary constituencies. So, in all 405 VVPATs would be counted.

“People will get the trend of EVM counting early. But final results would only be declared by the evening,” Choubey said.

Detailing the process of VVPAT counting, Choubey said the number of total booths in an assembly segment would be written on slips. Then, they would be mixed in a box in presence of officials, and agents from different political parties. Five numbers would randomly be picked from the box and they would be counted.

For example, there are six assembly segments - Ichagarh, Silli, Khijri, Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke, which fall under the Ranchi parliamentary constituency. The constituency has 2,342 polling booths, average 390 booths in each segment. Of the total 2,342 booths, 30 booths would be picked for VVPAT counting.

Also Read | 21 Oppn parties to meet poll panel in Delhi today to demand ‘EVM tracking’

The officials said there would be a special VVPAT counting booth, which would be structured like a cashier’s cabin in a bank, so that VVPAT slips do not go missing.

Over 8,000 poll officials will be deputed across 14 parliamentary constituencies for counting duties.

The Election Commission on Monday organised a special training programme for returning officers (ROs) and assistant returning officers (AROs) at the state election commission building in Ranchi.

“The ROs and AROs were imparted training about the process of counting votes. They were given a special training on VVPAT counting,” said Geeta Chaubey, deputy electoral officer (DEO), headquarters. Meanwhile, the Ranchi administration has almost completed its preparation for counting day. The counting centre for Ranchi parliamentary constituency has been set up at Krishi Bazar Samiti, Pandra Market.

An election official said 16 to 26 tables would be put for six assembly segments and counting would be held in 16 to 21 rounds.

The Kanke assembly segment will see the maximum rounds of counting at 21, while the lowest rounds of counting will be for the Ranchi assembly segment, at 16.

First Published: May 21, 2019 14:54 IST

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