After multi phases assembly elections in UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur have now been concluded. Exit polls are already declaring the expected result and now millions of people in these states are waiting for the results to be declared on March 10.
On March 10, the counting of votes will be done. It is pertinent here to discuss the question of how this counting of millions of votes will take place?
The process of counting:
- Before the counting, the EVMs are brought from the strong room at the counting Centre under tight security. A strong room is a secure place where EVMs are kept after voting.
- Apart from the Returning Officer, many other officers including the Candidate, Election Agent, Counting Agent come to the counting site. The entire process is video recorded with the camera. Mobiles are banned in counting halls.
- A wire fence is made between the counting agent and the agents of the candidates.
- The counting of votes starts at 8 am. The postal ballots are counted first. EVMs are counted after 30 minutes.
- The entire counting takes place throughout the day in many rounds. In every round, 14 EVMs are opened.
- Usually, there is one EVM per booth and each booth is made for about 1200 voters.
- If we do the math by this, about 10 thousand to 12 thousand votes are counted in every round.
- After each round of counting, the votes received by all the candidates are written on board.
- The EVM machines are kept on respective tables. The chart is prepared in advance for which booth the machine will be placed on which table.
- In each EVM machine, the result button is pressed, after which the number of votes of each candidate comes to the fore. It takes 2-3 minutes in this process.
- The counting is flashed on the display board. All the election personnel sitting at the 14 tables and the agents of the candidates can see.
- Counting personnel at all 14 tables fill out Form 17-C in each round and give it to the RO after signing from the agent.
- ROs record the count of votes in each round. This result is written on the board after each round and announced with the help of loudspeakers.
- After the completion of the first phase of counting, the returning officer waits for 2 minutes so that any candidate who has any objection can register it.
- It is up to the Returning Officer whether he wants to get the votes counted again or assures the candidate that there is no malpractice.
- After every round, the Returning Officer informs the Chief Electoral Officer of the State about the result.
History of EVMs in Indian election:
The Election Commission had first discussed the conduct of elections using EVMs in 1977. For this, Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) was asked to make the design. A model of EVM was made in 1979 and displayed by the Election Commission to the political parties on 6 August 1980. After this, the responsibility of making EVM was given to ECIL and Bharat Electronics Limited.
EVMs were used for the first time in one constituency during the assembly elections in Kerala in May 1982. However, at that time, there was no statute to conduct elections through EVMs. After which, the Representation of People’s Act 1951 was amended in December 1988 for the use of EVMs in elections.
The consensus on holding elections through EVMs was reached in 1998. After this, as an experiment, EVMs were used in elections held on 25 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi. EVMs were used for 45 Lok Sabha seats in 1999 and then in February 2000 in Haryana Assembly elections on 45 assembly seats. In 2001, for the first time in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and West Bengal, voting for all assembly seats were done by EVMs. Since then EVMs are being used for all elections. In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, EVMs were used for all 543 seats in the country.