System of counting of votes
Date, Place and Time of Counting

1. Introductory

1.1 Counting of votes is the last major step towards the culmination of the election process. It is in the correct and proper counting of votes that the true choice of the electorate finds expression and it is on the basis of such ascertainment of their true choice that their chosen representative is declared elected. Therefore, the importance of the process of counting of votes hardly needs to be emphasized.

1.2 Under the law, counting of votes 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 authorizes the Assistant Returning officer also to undertake the counting of votes, the counting of votes may be simultaneously done at place 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 and watch his interests.

System of counting of votes

1.3 At present, two systems of counting of votes are followed in the country. The first system is of counting the votes polling station-wise. The second system is to count the votes by mixing the ballot papers of entire assembly constituency.

1.4 Under the first system, the ballot papers are counted polling station-wise and the votes polled by each candidate at every polling station are counted and announced separately in respect of each polling station.

1.5 Under the latter system, the ballot papers of the entire assembly constituency or an assembly segment of a parliamentary constituency are mixed together and then only taken up for counting candidate-wise so that the trend of voting in any polling area may not become known and the electors may exercise their franchise without any fear of intimidation or victimisation. This latter system is followed in those constituencies which are specifically notified by the Election Commission under Rule 59A of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961.

1.6 Detailed procedure followed for counting the votes under both the systems is explained in subsequent paragraphs.

Date, Place and Time of Counting

2.1 The Returning Officer will give notice to you or to your election agent, at least one week before the date or the first of the dates fixed for the poll, of the place, date and time fixed for the counting of the votes, in the forms prescribed by the Commission for the purpose, vide Appendix XXIV A or XXIV B as may be applicable.

2.2 For a general election throughout the country the date for the counting of votes will generally be a date after the last of the dates of poll in various States/Union Territories for the general election. When a General Election is held in a single State/Union Territory, the date for the counting of votes will be a date after the last dates of poll in that State/Union Territory. If the general elections are held simultaneously or more or less during the same period to the Legislative Assemblies of more than one State, the counting may be taken up after the completion of poll in all such States. For a bye-election, the date of counting of votes would normally be a day or two after the date or last of the dates of poll.

2.3 If for any unavoidable reason the Returning Officer is unable to proceed with the counting at the place and at the time and on the date fixed and communicated to you, he will postpone the counting and fix another date and time and if necessary another place for the counting of votes. You or your election agent will be given notice of every such change in writing.