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EVM counting first, VVPATs last 

New Delhi, May 22

As the world eagerly awaits the results of the high-stakes 17th General Election tomorrow, the Election Commission is learnt to have rejected the Opposition demand for counting VVPAT slips before opening the EVMs.

The voting was staggered across seven phases between April 11 and May 19 in which around 67 per cent of the nearly 90 crore eligible voters exercised their franchise to elect 542 members of the Lok Sabha from 8,049 contestants. 

In the 2014 elections, the BJP won 282 seats, while the Congress had suffered a severe drubbing, getting an all-time low of 44 seats as against 206 it won in 2009.

A senior EC official said a detailed plan for counting of votes had been laid out.  

It has been decided to follow the established procedure of counting VVPAT slips for the mandatory five polling stations per Assembly segment of each parliamentary seat at the end of the entire counting process.

The Opposition parties  wanted five random VVPATs to be counted first so that if there was a problem or mismatch, all VVPAT slips could be counted before it was too late.

As per the directives, it has been decided to count postal ballots simultaneously with electronic voting machine (EVM) count due to the “sheer size” of the ballots received this time from service voters.

Of the total 18 lakh registered service voters with the EC, 85 per cent had returned their ballots indicating their choice of candidate. Till now, the postal ballots were counted in the beginning.

How the Counting process will unfold

  • Postal ballot papers and EVMs are brought in; counting staff and agents inspect these before opening them and counting of votes begins
  • EVM is powered on and seal over result button is removed. The button is pressed and total number of votes recorded for each candidate is displayed
  • After a round of counting, the RO waits for two minutes for candidate’s agent to seek recount. The final decision rests with RO. The EVMs are resealed
  • After resolution of any discrepancy, the RO seeks EC observer’s clearance and declares the result and reports the same to the Election Commission

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