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How will votes be counted in the 2024 India election results?

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On June 4, 2024, India will witness the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls, concluding the multiphase voting process that began over 44 days earlier. With an estimated 969 million people registered to vote, the giant electoral exercise saw a turnout ranging from 60.5 to 67.3 percent across the seven phases of voting. The ballots were cast using electronic voting machines (EVMs) at over 1 million polling stations spread throughout the country, including remote villages and conflict zones.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) developed EVMs in collaboration with government-owned companies, Bharat Electronics Ltd, and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd. These machines, which have been used in Indian elections since 2004, operate on batteries and are not connected to the internet. EVMs consist of two parts – the control unit and the balloting unit. The control unit, operated by the polling officer, indicates the machine’s readiness for voting, while the balloting unit, placed in the voting compartment, displays candidates’ names and symbols for voters to cast their votes.

The counting process begins at 8 am on June 4, overseen by a returning officer appointed by the ECI for each parliamentary constituency. As the EVMs are unsealed in the presence of party representatives, counting starts with postal ballots followed by EVM votes. In each assembly segment, votes are counted on 14 tables with the control units distributed accordingly. Before each round of counting, checks are conducted to ensure the proper functioning of the EVMs.

To enhance voter confidence, the ECI introduced the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system in 2013, which generates a paper slip visible to voters for confirmation. Despite demands from opposition parties to count VVPAT slips for all polling stations, the ECI rejected the proposal. However, the Supreme Court of India directed the ECI to match VVPAT slips from five randomly selected assembly segments with EVM results.

The election results are anticipated to be announced on the night of June 4 or the morning of June 5. The ECI will publish the results on its website, and Al Jazeera will provide live updates on the outcome of India’s general election. The intricate process of counting votes using EVMs ensures the transparency and accuracy of the electoral process, ultimately determining the composition of the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament.

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