Stage Set for Counting of Votes with Strict Covid-19 Protocols
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for counting of votes on May 2 for the Assam assembly polls by putting in place measures to ensure strict adherence to health protocols, as it is taking place amid a raging second wave of COVID-19, an official said on Saturday. A three-tier security apparatus has also been arranged at the 331 counting halls across the state that voted in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6.
Considering the fact that coronavirus infection is raging in the state, steps have been taken to ensure that COVID guidelines are strictly followed during the counting. Arrangements have been made for sanitising the counting venues frequently during the process.
Wearing of face masks and use of sanitisers have been made mandatory for entering the counting halls. EVMs and VVPATs at the well-ventilated counting venues will be sanitised before the commencement of the process.
Tables will be placed in the counting halls in such a way so that social distancing norms are maintained. Unlike in 2016 assembly elections when there were 143 counting halls with 14 tables each, the number of tables has been reduced to seven per hall this time.
Only candidates and their agents, who have received both the doses of COVID-19 vaccine or have tested negative for the infection, will be allowed to enter a counting venue on Sunday. According to the Assam Health and Family Welfare department, approximately 35,000 counting officials, and agents of candidates, to be engaged in the process, have got themselves tested on April 30 in pre-identified and notified testing centres.
No public gathering outside the counting venue will be allowed during the process, he said. An average 82.04 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the three phase elections to 126 assembly constituencies.
Chief Electoral Officer, Assam, Nitin Khade said, participation of women in the polling was “remarkable” with 80.63 per cent of the total women voters exercising their franchise.[q]
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