2019 polls: Before counting, where and how will EVMs be stored?

Voting material being sorted out at Ripon Buildings Thursday before being despatched to different constituencies.

Chennai: Even as polls are being held in phase-1 today for 91 Lok Sabha constituencies in 18 States and a couple of Union Territories, EVMs are being readied for phase-2 elections 18 April.

Officials are busy pasting the candidates’ symbols and names for phase-2 polls which will be conducted in 97 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 13 States, including 39 in Tamilnadu.

The by-polls for the 18 Assembly constituencies will also be held in Tamilnadu simultaneously.

There will be a huge gap of about 43 days from the day of the first phase of polling to the day of  announcement of results 23 May.

Recently, a meeting of election officials was held in the city during which EVMs for each constituency in the State was selected using computer generated random numbers. The details of these machines were given as CD to representatives of all parties.

Usually, once voting is completed, the machines will be brought safely to the counting centres and kept under heavy protection. The room will be sealed and there will be armed police and CRPF personnel guarding the room.

Sources said since the elections are held in different phases, the machines from one Assembly segment will be sent to a counting centre in another area. Sources said even election duty officials will not know where the machines from a particular booth are being sent to and only the Chief Electoral Officer will know about the details.

It is said the ECI is planning to adopt this method from this time to ensure utmost security for the machines.

When News Today contacted Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo, he denied any change in the procedure of keeping the machines safe.

“The EVMs will be kept in a safe room as per routine and will be given enough protection till the counting date,” he added.

Balasubramani Muniyandi