Kerala Assembly election results: EC to increase counting halls

Counting of votes

Thiruvananthapuram: In wake of the COVID-19 case spike in the state, Election Commission has decided to increase the number of counting halls in a constituency for the upcoming Kerala Assembly election results. The election was held on April 6 and the results will be out on May 2, Sunday.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena has directed District Collectors to increase the counting halls to three. Earlier, there were 14 counting tables in a hall for counting of votes in an Assembly election. However, the EC had decided to split this into two – seven tables in two halls – to make sure social distancing protocols were followed. Now, this will be increased to three halls.

The EC expects this will help poll officials to announce the results much faster than previous election by following all safety protocols imposed due to the pandemic.

With three counting halls, the first round of counting will take electronic voting machines (EVMs) from 21 booths. Usually the first round takes upto 14 booths. As a result, the counting rounds will be reduced and the results will be out sooner.

However, the announcement of final results may get delayed due to the increase in postal ballots this time. The EC had provided postal ballot facility to those under quarantine and elders who are above 80-years. Those who were under treatment for COVID-19 were also allowed to take postal ballot. This has increased the number of postal ballots to 3.5 lakh. In the Lok Sabha polls held last year, the state had around 1 lakh postal ballots. Polling officials have already requested the CEO to increase the number of tables for counting postal ballots.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has said that election observers will arrive in the state this week. The counting of votes will begin at 8am on May 2, Sunday. The counting will start with postal ballots and EVMs will be opened by 8.30am. The officials will also count the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips from five booths in every constituency at the end of exercise to ensure transparency of the election process.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.