The counting of votes polled in the Lok Sabha elections in the State will begin in 140 counting centres across 29 locations at 8 a.m. on Thursday.
The initial trends will begin to emerge by 8.30 a.m., although an official declaration of the results may be expected only by Thursday night.
By noon, though, a general idea will have emerged as votes polled in the electronic voting machines (EVM) will be counted by then. Official declaration of the results will be on hold until the paper slips in the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines are counted and verified. VVPAT slips in five randomly picked booths per Assembly segment will be matched with the EVM results.
Everything is set for a smooth counting process, Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena said on Wednesday. The postal ballots will be counted first. Service votes (those of defence personnel) polled through the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) also will be scanned simultaneously.
A fresh round of counting will begin only after votes polled in all EVMs in the previous round is counted, the result declared and it is entered in the EC portal.
Once the counting of votes polled in the EVMs begins, it will be continued till the process is completed, Mr. Meena said. Earlier, it was decided that the two final rounds of counting of EVM votes would be halted until the counting of postal ballots and service votes were done. But the Election Commission decided not to halt the counting of EVM votes once it starts.
AROs to monitor
The commission has appointed 140 additional Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) in the State to supervise the counting of postal ballots and service votes. The other AROs will monitor the counting of EVM votes and VVPAT paper slips.
Over 2.03 crore voters had exercised their franchise in the state on April 23, with the polling percentage standing at 77.68, the highest in three decades. After the detection of vote fraud, the Election Commission held repolls in seven booths in Kasaragod and Kannur constituencies.
A repoll was held in booth no: 83 in Kalamassery where election officials failed to clear mock poll votes from the EVMs ahead of the actual voting.