In a first, on counting day on May 16, the Election Commission (EC) has directed that printouts should be given to the polling agents for each candidate in the fray after every round of counting.
While the procedure includes filling up of the form 17 C and tallying with the total number number of votes shown against each candidate, the printouts will help polling agents in figuring out the final tally.
“The EC has issued the directive that printouts be given to the appointed polling agent at every desk. The order states print out of 17 C Part II,” said deputy election officer Apurva Wankhede.
“This is a more transparent system. Earlier only the counting supervisors would note down the figures,” she added. The printouts will help in bringing forth any discrepancy to the Returning Officer for appropriate action in accordance with the law.
Part II of form 17 C is signed by the counting supervisor and it is further signed by the candidates or their agents before handing it to the returning officer.
For the counting, there are 450 counting supervisors, 500 counting assistants and 500 micro-observers for the two centres — Food Corporation of India godown at Koregaon Park and the Balewadi stadium. Wankhede said the training of all the officials for the process was under way. “We have issued notices to the offices concerned and the micro-observers are from central agencies,” she added.
As per the law, counting of votes is to be done by or under the supervision and direction of the Returning Officer of the Constituency in the presence of the candidates and their agents. The law authorises the Assistant Returning Officer, too, to undertake the counting of votes.
The counting of votes may be simultaneously done at places more than one and at tables more than one at the same place. As the candidate or his election agent cannot be expected to be physically present at each of such counting places and tables, the law permits the candidate to appoint his counting agents, who may be present at each of the said counting places and counting tables.
Being representatives of the candidates, the counting agents have an important role to play and their cooperation in this important task will make matters easier for the counting supervisors and counting assistants.