*Representational image credit: Samayam Tamil

Counting of votes for 14 Lok Sabha Election in Jharkhand will start from 8 am on 23 May 2019. L. Khiangte, Chief Electoral Officer, said that all the preparations have been done for the counting of votes. Comprehensive security arrangements have been made at all the counting centers. The security of the Strong Room is consistently being done by the Central Armed Police Forces and returning officers have also been given the instruction to follow the guidelines of Election Commission of India. 

Mr. Khiangte said that 14 counting centers have been set up for counting of 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand. 1-Rajmahal (ST) Lok Sabha seat in Government Polytechnic College, Lohanda in Sahebganj, 2-Dumka (ST) in Government Engineering College of Dumka, 3- Godda in Government Polytechnic College, Silkitia, 4-Chatra in Chatra College 5-Koderma in Agriculture Production Marketing Yard of Giridih District, Panchamba, 6- Giridih in Warehouse, Market Committee, Chas, 7-Dhanbad in APMC of Dhanbad 8- Ranchi in agricultural market committee of Ranchi, Pandra, 9-Jamshedpur in Jamshedpur district Co-Operative College, 10-  Singhbhum (ST) in Women's College of West Singhbhum, 11-Khunti (ST) in Birsa College of Khunti District, 12-Lohardaga (ST) in Polytechnic, Chandali, 13-Palamu (SC) in Agricultural Marketing Yard, 14-Hazaribagh in Agricultural Produce Market Committee of Hazaribagh. 

Mr. Khiangte told that on the day of counting, the Strong Room will be opened in the presence of candidates/agents and observer of the Election Commission of India. Its videography will also be done. Also, EVM votes will be matched with the address tag, seal and serial number before the counting process starts so that candidates and their counting agents do not have any doubts about EVM. He also said that counting will be done in a phased manner. After the end of one phase, the votes of the next phase will be counted. Counting of votes of 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand will be done on the basis of assembly constituency. In this regard, 81 constituencies will be counting in 81 halls.

Mr. Khiangte said that the counting of votes will start with the postal ballot. It will include ETPBS and postal ballot. The postal ballot will be counted on the table while pre-counting (scanning) of votes received from ETPBS will be done. Also, EVM votes will be counted in separate counting rooms. After the completion of counting of votes of EVM, counting of VVPAT slip from 5 polling stations selected randomly from every Assembly constituency will also be done.

After the process of counting, all EVMs - VVPATs will be brought to the Strong Rooms. After sealing it, it will be kept in the double lock. Mr. Khiangte said that the process of locking EVM-VVPAT will be completed in the presence of a candidate or his electoral agent and observer. With this, videography of the entire process of sealing will also be done.

The counting of slip received from VVPAT and the conformity of the protocols prescribed by the Election Commission is likely to take 4-5 hours more in the counting process as compared to past elections. 

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