What’s the Methodology for Vote Tallying in Indian Elections?

India Election Results 2024: What is the Process for Counting Votes?

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Here’s the process for counting votes in India’s Lok Sabha elections using EVMs on June 4.

India’s multiphase voting concluded on Saturday after seven rounds of elections spanning 44 days. This monumental electoral exercise, the largest in democratic history, involved 15 million polling staff traveling across the vast country to conduct the vote at approximately 1 million polling stations. These stations were located in diverse and challenging areas, including remote villages, hills, deserts, and conflict zones.

Voters have endured scorching temperatures to cast their ballots, with the seven phases—April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25, and June 1—recording turnouts of 66.1%, 66.7%, 61.0%, 67.3%, 60.5%, 63.4%, and 62%, respectively. An estimated 969 million people were registered to vote, with ballots cast using electronic voting machines (EVMs).

At stake are 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament. The votes will be counted on Tuesday, June 4.

Here’s how the vote counting process for elections works:

At what time will the votes be counted for India’s 2024 election?

Counting for all constituencies will commence at 8 am (02:30 GMT) on Tuesday, June 4.

What exactly are EVMs?

EVMs, or Electronic Voting Machines, are devices used for casting and counting votes electronically during elections. They are designed to ensure accuracy, efficiency, and transparency in the voting process.

Since 2004, EVMs have replaced paper ballots in India’s elections.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) collaborated with Bengaluru-based Bharat Electronics Ltd and Hyderabad-based Electronic Corporation of India Ltd, both government-owned companies, to develop these machines. EVMs are battery-operated, eliminating the need for electricity, and they are not linked to the internet.

An EVM consists of two parts that are linked together via a cable:

Control unit: Operated by the polling officer at the polling booth, it features a “ballot button” that illuminates a green LED on the other unit of the EVM, signaling readiness for voting. A “Busy” light indicates when a vote is being cast. It includes a “Close” button to halt further voting and a “Clear” button to erase all data. Additionally, a section displays the total number of votes cast.

Balloting unit: Positioned within the voting compartment at the polling booth, this unit contains the names and symbols of candidates, each accompanied by a blue button. It also incorporates braille script to assist visually impaired voters in casting their votes independently. Voters register their choices by pressing the blue button adjacent to their preferred candidate’s name. Upon casting a vote, a beep sound is emitted from the control unit.

Who supervises the process of vote counting?

The ECI designates a returning officer (RO) for each parliamentary constituency, entrusting them with the responsibility of overseeing the vote counting process.

An RO is assisted by assistant returning officers (AROs), who oversee the counting process in the assembly segments within the respective parliamentary constituency. Each parliamentary constituency is subdivided into assembly segments, aligning with the constituencies in the respective state assemblies. Generally, most parliamentary constituencies comprise six or seven assembly constituencies.

What is the process for counting votes?

-At the conclusion of voting, the EVMs are securely sealed and stored in a strongroom within the parliamentary constituency. On the counting day, the EVMs are retrieved and unsealed in the presence of representatives from all participating political parties.

-Vote counting initiates with the RO tallying votes via postal ballots. The counting of EVM votes commences 30 minutes after the postal ballot count. Only the control units of the EVMs are utilized during this counting process.

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-Given the presence of multiple assembly constituencies within a parliamentary constituency, the vote counting for each assembly segment occurs in a designated hall where 14 tables are arranged. Control units of EVMs are distributed among these tables for the counting process.

-The number of halls or tables may be increased if there is a substantial number of candidates, but this necessitates prior permission from the electoral body. Additionally, counting can occur in multiple locations within the assembly constituency under the supervision of an ARO.

-Prior to the commencement of counting, several checks are conducted to ensure that the control units are appropriately sealed, assigned to the correct locations, and functioning correctly.

-In each round of counting, votes registered in 14 EVMs are tallied, and the results are subsequently announced and recorded on a blackboard affixed to each table. This process repeats before the commencement of the next round of counting.

-The votes are tallied by counting supervisors and assistants assigned to each table, a selection process overseen by the RO through a randomization procedure.

-The control unit of the EVM features a “Results” button, which, when pressed, displays the number of votes received by each candidate. Additionally, it indicates the total number of candidates contesting in the constituency.

-When the “Results” button is activated, the EVM sequentially displays the votes secured by candidates, signaled by beep sounds. After all the candidates’ vote numbers are displayed, the control unit indicates “End.”

What does the VVPAT system entail?

The Election Commission of India (ECI) implemented the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system in 2013 to enhance voter trust in EVMs.

A VVPAT is linked to both the control unit and the balloting unit of an EVM via cables. Once a voter casts their vote, the VVPAT produces a corresponding paper slip, visible to the voter for approximately seven seconds, allowing confirmation of the vote’s accuracy. Subsequently, these slips are deposited into a drop box.

The Congress and other opposition parties have pushed for the counting of VVPAT slips to cross-check votes from all polling stations nationwide as a safeguard against electoral fraud. Despite this demand, the ECI has dismissed it. However, the Supreme Court of India has instructed the election commission to compare the VVPAT slips from five randomly chosen assembly segments with the results from their corresponding EVMs.

When are the election results expected to be announced?

Initial trends and subsequent results typically begin to emerge shortly after the commencement of counting. The final results of India’s general election are expected to be announced either on the night of June 4 or the morning of June 5.

What are the sources to verify the results of India’s 2024 Lok Sabha elections?

The ECI will release the results on its website. Time of News will also provide live updates of the results, incorporating the latest information from the ECI, on June 4.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many seats need to form the government in India? To form a government in India, a party or coalition must secure a simple majority in the Lok Sabha, which means winning at least 272 out of 543 seats.

How many seats to win majority in India? A party or coalition needs 272 seats to cross the majority mark in the 543-member Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament.

How much MP is in India? For the purpose of constituting the Lok Sabha , the whole country has been divided into 543 Parliamentary Constituencies , each one of which elects one member.

Who was the longest Prime Minister of India? Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first and longest-serving Prime Minister, led from 1947 until his death in 1964.

How is MLA elected in India? All members of the Legislative Assembly are elected based on adult franchise, and one member is elected from one constituency.

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