EC explains reasons for slow counting

The Election Commission on Friday cited multiple factors, including the 21% more polling stations than those in the previous polls, for the delay in the counting of votes in Madhya Pradesh. “Right from the first round of electronic voting machine (EVM) counting at 8.30 a.m., the candidates were very particular about checking and examining every seal, tag and serial number of the EVMs and their cases being brought to the counting tables,” said the Commission. In several cases, the EC said, the candidates raised trivial objections to the seals, serial numbers/tag numbers, signatures of polling staff on the tags, and other issues that required interventions, explaining and convincing by the Returning Officer, District Election Officer and Observer, before the EVMs were taken up for counting. “Even though no EVM was kept aside or found tampered among the 66,000 EVMs taken up for counting, the process of objections slowed down the rounds,” said the electoral body. Five minutes were lost over the insistence of the candidates not to bring the next round of EVMs to the counting tables before tabulation, writing of round-wise figures on the board in the counting hall and announcing in the public address system. “With an average of 22 rounds of counting per Assembly Constituency, this led to two hours of delay,” the Commission said.

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