“The Commission has directed that counting officials need not be in a haste or hurry to declare the results and they should follow all the procedures and take as much time as it is naturally required….It is natural that it may take some more time than normal as you all know this pandemic is not a normal time,” EC secretary common Umesh Singh instructed reporters on Tuesday.
In any case, “most outcomes by late afternoon” seem to have turn out to be a factor of the previous ever for the reason that Supreme Court ordered voter verified paper audit trails (VVPAT) slips to be counted for 5 polling stations per meeting constituency. Counting 1,200-1,400 slips manually per polling station within the final spherical takes a mean 45 minutes to an hour, after which the end result will be declared.
During the polls in Madhya Pradesh in December 2018, outcomes for Bhind-Morena got here as late as eight am on the following day of counting.
Interestingly, this was probably not the issue in Bihar this time, with the whole variety of voters per polling station lower to 1,000 from 1,500 within the curiosity of security from Covid. With a mean 57% turnout in Bihar, EC officers stated VVPAT slips to be counted within the last spherical had been far much less.
In Bihar, the slower tempo of outcomes could possibly be defined by many components. First, the limiting of voters per polling station to 1,000 from 1,500 meant 63% rise in polling stations and an identical rise in EVMs deployed.
So outcomes needed to be taken from way more EVMs. Secondly, the broad pointers issued by EC required counting tables to be lower from a mean 14 to 7, although Commission officers stated this was balanced by a rise within the variety of counting centres, from 38 in 2015 to 55 now.
On a mean, 35 rounds of counting had been to be undertaken per meeting constituency, which went up additional to even 50-plus in an even bigger constituency. Each spherical takes 30-40 minutes because the outcomes want tabulation and distribution to all of the candidates and counting brokers.
Another issue that made the watch for outcomes longer was the rise in variety of postal ballots. While 1.6 lakh ballots had been despatched to service voters, one other 52,000 senior residents above 80 years of age, folks with disabilities and voters engaged in important providers opted to vote by postal poll. Add to this round 5 lakh election workers — rather more than in 2015 — a lot of whom too would have exercised the postal poll possibility. Since postal ballots are first to be counted, the preliminary rounds of counting might have stretched a bit.
Yet, EC not solely did a number of media briefings on counting updates until late within the night time, in a break from custom, however deputy election commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar additionally insisted that “there is no delay in dissemination of results and the counting was progressing fast”.
Recounts in just a few instances — in view of the May 2019 rule by EC directing necessary recounting/reverification of postal poll the place the margin of votes is much less that variety of postal ballots rejected as invalid — led to allegations and protests by the dropping events, whereas claims by RJD that returning officers had congratulated 119 candidates on their ‘win’ however the outcomes weren’t being declared, had been countered by EC saying its web site had the correctly authenticated outcomes.
EC additionally denied an earlier declare that postal poll counting was stopped halfway in some seats, saying this might not be substantiated after checking with the Bihar chief electoral officer.