Lok Sabha elections 2019: This is how votes will be counted, VVPAT verification explained

Voting in India’s mammoth national election ended Sunday with the seventh and final phase of a gruelling poll that lasted more than five weeks, as exit polls predicted a victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party and its allies.

Vote counting begins on Thursday, and the election result will likely be known the same day. The election is seen as a referendum on Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP’s main opposition is the Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has produced three prime ministers.

While the Opposition parties are questioning the EVMs and VVPATs credibility. Opposition parties, including the Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Samajwadi Party, CPI and CPI(M), jointly addressed a press conference to highlight the issue of transparency in the election process and protection of voter rights with a call to “save democracy”. A VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly and will help detect any possible election fraud or malfunction of EVMs.

So here’s all you need to know about counting process for the 2019 Lok Sabha Election:

The EVMs will be inspected before the counting starts.

This will be done in the presence of the Returning Officers.

Contesting candidates along with their counting agents or election agents have the right to be present at the counting centers. Counting agents oversee the counting of votes.

Counting is performed by counting supervisors appointed by the RO. Counting staff is appointed through a three stage randomization process to ensure impartiality.

Postal ballot papers will be counted first after that starts the EVM counting. Counting is done under the supervision and direction of the Returning Officer.

In case of destruction or loss of ballot papers at the time of counting, the Returning Officer will immediately report the matter to the Election Commission.

The ECI prescribes the process for randomly selecting one EVM for each assembly segment of a parliamentary constituency for VVPAT matching. The verification of VVPAT paper slips is conducted inside a secured VVPAT Counting Booth in the counting hall with access to authorised personnel only.

Depending on the situation, the ECI may allow the counting to be completed or declare the poll to be void and order repolling.

If the counting ends without any complain or in the absence of any direction from the ECI, the Returning Officer declares the result on completion of counting.

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