Panaji/Margao: Vote counting on May 23 will be a gruelling task, which could spill into the next day delaying the declaration of final poll results of the parliamentary elections in the state.
The poll result of the North Goa parliamentary seat is expected to be out by late night on May 23. There is a possibility that counting of votes for the seat may continue till next day.
The counting of votes polled for the Panaji byelection will be taken up first, which will be followed by the votes polled in the Mandrem and Mapusa assembly segments.
The bypoll results are expected to be out by 4 pm.
“The vote counting process is expected to be delayed as the VVPATs have to be counted physically and the slips have to be segregated and counted manually. The EVM counting will take two hours after which we expect not less than one hour for counting each VVPAT. From every assembly segment, five VVPATs will be counted, which means that for the North Goa LS seat a total of 100 VVPATs will be taken up for counting,” explained North Goa district returning officer R Menaka at a press conference held in Panaji.
The vote counting staff will be randomly selected in the presence of the ECI observers at 5 am, and the counting of EVMs and postal ballots will start at 8 am in the presence of candidates’ representatives.
She said that in case the results of EVM and VVPAT counting do not tally then the VVPAT slips will have to be counted again to confirm that it has been counted properly: otherwise it would indicate that the error has occurred in counting.
There will be a total of 11 counting halls, each hall will be supervised by an assistant returning officer.
In each hall, the number of tables will vary from 10 to 14.
There will be two rounds of counting in 10 halls, and only in one hall there will be one round of counting.
Each of the rounds will be further subdivided into sub-rounds ranging from three-seven different rounds.
There will be 126 tables for the first round and 115 tables for the second round; for each table there will be one counting assistant, one counting supervisor and one counting micro observer.
There will be 11 counting observers who will be deployed by the ECI to monitor all the counting halls.
There will be medical teams at the counting centre.
A total of 469 counting persons will be deployed; at each table the candidate can appoint one counting agent to oversee the counting process.
District collector and returning officer for the South Goa parliamentary seat Ajit Roy on Tuesday said that he and his teams will not mind in completing the vote counting even the next day to provide transparency in the vote counting.
The votes will be counted on May 23 at the Government College of Commerce and Economics, Borda-Margao.
Addressing media persons on the arrangements for the smooth vote counting, Roy said that he cannot say as to what time the counting of votes would get over because for the first time VVPAT slips will be tallied with EVM count.
“We will have two teams on the counting day: one team will report in the morning and another in the afternoon. We would not mind sitting for the next day to complete the vote counting, so as to make the process transparent,” Roy said.
The vote counting will start at 8 am.
There will be 12 tables in the counting hall where the votes polled for the Shiroda bypoll will be taken up for counting – six tables for counting the votes polled for the Shiroda bypoll and six tables for counting the votes polled for the South Goa parliamentary seat.
Roy said that a dry run on the vote counting process was held on Tuesday at the counting centre.
“I am glad that they (staff) understood the system, although for the first time we will be counting the VVPATs… The vote counting staff are all set for the May 23 task,’’ he said.