Counting of votes for the Bihar assembly elections will take longer than usual and continue till late in the night because of 63 per cent increase in the number of EVMs, the Election Commission said on Tuesday asserting that the pace of counting of votes is not slow.
Briefing reporters in the national capital as the counting progressed in Bihar, EC officials said over 1 crore votes were counted till around 1.30 pm out of nearly 4.16 crore votes polled in the three-phase elections. Out of nearly 7.3 crore voters, 57.09 per cent had cast votes in the polls.
An official said the counting has been "glitch-free" so far.
To ensure social distancing norms put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission had increased the number of polling stations from nearly 65,000 in the 2015 assembly polls to 1.06 lakh. This meant an increase in the number of electronic voting machines as well.
This time, the EC has restricted the number of voters per polling station to 1,000 from 1,500 to maintain physical distancing, thus increasing the number of polling stations.
"We hope to finish the counting as per procedure late tonight," said Deputy Election Commissioner in charge of Bihar Chandra Bhushan Kumar.
He said in the 2015 assembly polls, counting was held in 38 locations. But to ensure distancing norms, this time, counting is being held at 55 locations.
Responding to a question, Kumar said the number of EVMs deployed have increased. Also the number of postal ballots have used. The Commission has taken steps keeping in mind these.
"There is no question of the pace of counting being slow," he said.
The number of tables used per hall has been reduced to seven from the usual 14. But 14 tables have been put in place, though locations and as a result locations have increased.
Bhushan said the number of rounds for counting varies between 19 and 51 in different constituencies. The average come to approximately 35 rounds.
Responding to a query on some people questioning the reliability of EVMs, Deputy Election Commissioner in charge of EVMs Sudip Jain said the machines are "absolutely tamper-proof" and the Supreme Court has upheld the use of the device on multiple occasions.
One control unit and at least ballot unit make for one EVM.