EC issued guidelines for the day of counting votes

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To ensure a safe arrangement in view of the rising Covid cases in the country, the Election Commission of India has issued guidelines for the day of counting votes. The date is scheduled for May 2 .

1. No candidates/agents shall be allowed inside the counting hall without undergoing RT-PCR or RAT test.
2. Two doses of Covid vaccine mandatory.
3. Each candidate has to produce the negative RT-PCR or RAT test reports.
4. Report of vaccination must be within 48 hours of the start of counting.
5. DEO shall be the Nodal Officer at each Counting Centre to ensure adherence to the following the Covid-19 related norms at Counting Centres, with the assistance of Nodal Health Officer.
6. Compliance Certificate in respect of Counting Centre that all arrangement has been made as per extant Covid guidelines shall be obtained from the concerned Health Authorities.
7. The DEO shall make arrangements for the RT-PCR/RAT Test to Candidates/Counting agents before the day of Counting.
8. List of counting agents shall be made available by the contesting candidates to the RO concerned by 1700 hours on the day three days prior to the date fixed for counting of votes.
9. No public gathering outside the counting venue shall be allowed during the process of counting.
10. The Counting Hall should be sufficiently big to maintain social distancing and should have proper ventilation, windows, exhaust fan etc. as per the available protocol of SDMA.
11. The counting centers shall be disinfected before, during and after the counting.
12. Sealed outer boxes of EVM/VVPAT shall also be sanitized/disinfected.
13. Number of Counting tables to be allowed in a counting hall as per the size of the hall and keeping in view safety norms prescribed for Covid-19. Hence, counting of votes of a constituency may be considered at 3-4 halls by appointing additional Assistant Returning Officers.
14. At the entry of hall/ room/ premises- Thermal Scanning of all persons shall be carried out; Sanitizer, soap and water shall be made available and every person entering in hall shall sanitize his/her hand.
15. No one having any symptom of COVID- 19 like fever, Cold etc. shall be allowed to enter the Counting Hall.
16. Candidate may appoint/replace the counting agents in the case report is positive.
17. Social distancing shall be maintained inside Counting Hall, seating arrangement of Counting Personnel/Agents etc. should be made as per extant COVID-19 guidelines of NDMA/SDMA.
18. There shall be sufficient number of PPE Kit for Counting Agents/Candidates. The Counting Agents sitting arrangement shall be made in such a way that between 2 counting agents 1 agent shall be in PPE.
19. The following items shall be provided to every counting official and security personnel in addition to other prescribed items: Mask, Sanitizer, Face-Shield, Gloves.
20. For counting of Postal Ballots, an additional number of AROs may be deputed. If required, Postal Ballots may also be counted in a separate hall under the supervision of the Returning Officer/Assistant Returning officer.
21. There shall be proper arrangement of disposal of Covid related wastage viz Mask, Face Shield, PPE Kit gloves etc.
22. Proper display of guidelines “Does & Don’t” at convenient places including entrance gate and inside counting hall.

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