Health worker collects nose samples from election counting agents to test Covid-19 at Siliguri College counting center in West Bengal on April 30.
The increase in the number of postal votes has been one reason for the increase in accounting halls from 1,002 to 2,364.
As of 8 a.m. Sunday, counting of 822 Assembly seats spread across West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry will take place in 2,364 counting halls in accordance with COVID-19, Election Commission (EC) said on Saturday.
West Bengal will have a maximum of 1,113 counting halls, Kerala 633, Assam 331, Tamil Nadu 256 and Puducherry 31, the EC said.Another reason why the commission has shown an increase in the number of halls is the increase in the number of postal votes used in the five Parliamentary polling stations.
The commission’s efforts to extend postal polling stations to voters in the elderly (those over 80), people with disabilities and those affected by coronavirus saw a 400% increase in the number of postal votes (from 2.97 lakh in 2016 to 13.16 lakh by 2021) in four countries and the Union Territory, “it said.
The RT-PCR testing force is mandatory
No candidates or their agents will be allowed inside the counting halls without a negative coronavirus report, according to the latest guidelines on results days released by the EC.
According to information obtained by State Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs), candidates provided details of nearly 1.5 lakh (including candidates) in four countries and UT. More than 90% of them have already been tested RTPCR or RAT. The rest were given a checkpoint by district election officials on Saturday.
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Chief Electoral Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra reviewed the counting arrangements with senior EC officials as well as top four countries and UT at a meeting to be held on Saturday.
He directed that all EC instructions be followed. He also directed that accounting halls be fully compliant with COVID guidelines.CEC commended CEOs for successfully completing voting in the most challenging cases of the disease.