The Election Commission of India has issued directions to the Chief Electoral Officers in all states and Union Territories that the EVM and postal ballot counting can be done together, reported The Hindu.

The VVPAT slips counting can start as per the procedure, after the EVM counting is completed. With the introduction of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) and casting of postal ballot by election duty staff, the number of postal ballot papers for counting has gone up considerably, said the ECI.

“Further, with the requirement of mandatory QR code reading for the ETPBS, the postal ballot counting will now require more time. Moreover, there is a mandatory VVPAT slips count of five polling stations per Assembly segment in addition to the cases of VVPAT count that may be required on account of other reasons, such as Control Units not being cleared after mock poll, the Control Units not displaying the results at the time of counting, etc.”

The EC also added that wherever the margin of victory is less than the number of postal ballot papers rejected as ‘invalid’, all the rejected postal ballot papers will be mandatorily re-verified by the Returning Officer before result declaration.

The proceedings during such a time will be videographed too, according to the order.

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