Around 66 percent of 814 million electorate voted between April 7 and May 12 across the nation to pick a new 543-member Lok Sabha.

A total of 8,251 candidates, including 668 women and five transgenders, contested the much talked about election. The contestants included 3,234 independents.

The poll body has set 989 centres across the country for counting of 1.72 million electronic voting machines (EVMs), which has been placed under heavy security.

Tens of thousands of police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed to oversee the counting process on Friday.
The general election results is expected to come slower this time than in 2009 and the last result would be in at only around 4.30pm. During the last Lok Sabha election, the results for all seats were declared by 3 pm.

The number of candidates in this election was more than in 2009. Similarly, the total number of counting units (the part of an electronic voting machine where votes are stored) is 50 percent more than in the last election.

The other reason behind the delay in counting results is that the votes will be tallied after every round of counting this year to ensure a correct count of votes for each candidate.

Also, the counting staff will have to fill data for votes submitted against the NOTA option in every round, which will add to the time consumed.

Each Lok Sabha constituency has on an average six assembly segments. There are 14 counting tables on an average for each segment and each table accommodates one EVM control unit at a time. Thus, in each round, votes from 84 control units are counted and there will be 25-30 such rounds for each Lok Sabha seat.

Some snippets of information about how India counts its votes:

The contesting candidate/election agent/counting agents are allowed to be present at the counting venue where counting of votes is done under the supervision and direction of the Returning Officer (RO).

The Returning Officer will report the results to the Election Commission of India and to the appropriate authority (i.e. Secretary State Legislature/Parliament, who shall get it published in official Gazette immediately).

The time and place of counting must be fixed by the Returning Officer at least one week before date of poll notice to be given in writing to each candidate/his/her election agent.

A candidate is entitled to appoint counting agents, which shall not exceed 16 for each place of counting.

Nobody else except Returning Officer /Assistant Returning Officer, counting staff, candidates, their election agents and counting agents, public servants on duty, persons authorized by the Election Commission are allowed to be present at the counting center.

Counting staff and counting agents must inspect and ensure that the control unit is not tempered and all seals are intact. If the seal is disturbed, the Election Commission of India should be informed about it.


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