Poll panel meets political parties over counting method

December 3rd, 2008 - 11:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) The Election Commission Wednesday discussed with political parties a new way of counting votes in some constituencies where it fears “intimidation and victimisation of electors”. The vote count for the ongoing assembly elections is slated for Dec 8. The commission and the parties discussed the proposal of using a ‘totaliser’ for counting of votes - in which votes from all polling stations are put together and then counted.

Votes are currently counted polling station-wise - a method that reveals which candidate secured how many votes at each polling station.

“In order to avoid the possibility of any intimidation and victimisation of electors, the commission has proposed to use the ‘totaliser’ machine in some constituencies where the commission apprehends such intimidation and victimisation of electors and is of the opinion that it is absolutely necessary that votes recorded in the electronic voting machine (EVMs) should be mixed before counting,” it said in a statement.

The commission said when the elections were held using the ballot paper, the ballot papers were mixed wherever considered necessary as provided under Rule 59A of the Conduct of Election Rule, 1961.

However, the introduction of EVMs left no scope for such mixing of votes.

“The commission now proposes for such mixing of votes wherever necessary,” it said.

For this, both the EVM manufacturers, Bharat Electricals Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL), were asked to design a totaliser machine.

At the meeting, commission officials showed the party representatives how the new method works.

Counting for the elections to the Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Mizoram and Rajasthan assembly is slated for Dec 8.

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