IN THE run-up to the counting of the votes for 68 Assembly constituencies on December 18, an Election Commission (EC) team and Chief Electoral Officer Pushpendra Rajput Tuesday reviewed the arrangements, including security measures and deployment of staff,at all48 locations.
As the EC team could not fly to Kullu and Dharamshala owing to bad weather conditions and poor visibility, the review was done with all DCs and Returning officers, through video-conferencing.
Rajput told the District Election Officers to ensure that all arrangements for counting were in place by December 15 and also to implement the series of guidelines issued by the commission for counting day.
The counting of votes will begin at 8 am with postal ballots. The EC has devised a ‘quick response code reader’ to be used for postal ballot counting. Containers for counting of VVPAT slips have also been procured and now handed over to all returning officers.
This is the first time when VVPAT slips will also counted manually along with EVM votes.
The process may take some additional time, say officials. Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena also raised some queries to the DCs during the review.
Meanwhile, Rajput informed that the percentage of the polled votes had now crossed 75 percent, which is the highest till date. On voting day, the percentage of polled votes was recorded as 74.6 per cent.
Of total 37,574 service voters, who were issued ballot papers electronically by the state’s election commission, nearly 17,000 have been received.
As there are still a few days to go, election officials expect this number may go up soon.
Rajput informed that arrangements have been made for “live cast” of the counting on a minute-by-minute basis from 48 locations in the state, except Lahual-Spiti.
The EVMs and VVPAT machines from Lahaul-Spiti has already been brought to Kullu fearing snow and closing of the Rohtang Pass.