VVPAT count: Results to be delayed by 4 hrs in K'taka

VVPAT count: Results to be delayed by 4 hrs in K'taka

Counting tables have been arranged at a centre in Raichur. (DH Photo)

Declaration of the Lok Sabha election results in the state may be delayed by at least four hours, but a clear trend will emerge by afternoon on May 23, when votes will be counted, officials said.

The delay in the declaration of results is because the Supreme Court has directed the Election Commission to tally Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with electronic voting machines (EVMs) in five polling booths per Assembly constituency against the earlier requirement of tallying just two in one booth.

“One round of counting takes 45 minutes. For five rounds, it will take 3.45 hours. In some cases, it can exceed four hours,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjiv Kumar told reporters. “We will have to count 40 VVPATs in every parliamentary constituency. So, between 3 pm and 6 pm, almost all the results should be out.”

If there is any mismatch between votes on the EVM and the VVPAT slips, the VVPAT slip count will prevail, Kumar said.

There are 31 cases across 16 Lok Sabha segments in the state where mock poll numbers were not deleted from the electronic voting machines. “In these cases, we will count VVPAT slips directly,” he said.

Counting will start at 8 am across 28 counting centres in the state. “First, the postal ballots - we have received 98,606 of them so far - will be counted. Then, the votes on the control unit of the EVM will be counted. Last, the random Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail counting will happen,” Kumar said.

Every counting centre will have 14 tables, with each table assigned to receive electronic voting machines used in a particular polling station. Counting will not be simultaneous, but happen one table after another. “We expect to have anywhere between 18 and 33 rounds of counting,” Kumar said.

Adequate security has been deployed at the counting centres with round-the-clock supervision by a DSP-rank officer.