In any election after the election gets over parties and candidate wait for the results and how they have fared. Counting of votes is the last step towards the end of the election process.
Correct and proper counting of votes that the right choice of the electorate finds expression and it is on this basis such assurance 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 emphasised.
In India law, counting of votes is done under the supervision and direction of the Returning Officer of the Constituency in the presence of the candidates and their agents. Counting of votes may be simultaneously done at a place more than one and at tables more than one at the same place. The candidate appoints his counting agents who is present at each counting place and counting tables to watch his interests.
There are two systems of counting of votes followed in the country. The first is counting of votes polling station-wise and the second is to count votes by mixing the ballot papers of entire assembly constituency.
In the first system, the ballot papers get counted polling station-wise and the votes polled by each candidate at every polling station gets counted and declared separately in respect of each polling station.
In the second system the entire assembly constituency or an assembly segment get mixed together and only then 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.
On the day of counting the Returning Officer give notice to candidate or their 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.
The date for the counting of votes will be a date after the last dates of poll in that State and the counting may be taken up after the completion of poll in all such states.
If Returning Officer is not able to proceed with the counting at a particular place and time on the date fixed, he will postpone the counting and fix a new date and time if necessary at another place for counting of votes. The candidate and election agent will be given notice of every such change in writing.
(With inputs from Election Commission of India website)