Now that the elections are over, we are all awaiting the results that will shape the future of our nation for the next five years.
Just like voting that included around 90 crore voters and 8,000 candidates, the counting of votes is also an elaborate affair and here's how it is carried out.
The counting of votes in India is governed by the Representation of People Act, 1951 and Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.
The Returning Officer fixes the time and place of counting at least one week before the polling date. Generally, a government school or college building having a hall that can accommodate 14 counting tables is chosen for this purpose.
The counting of votes starts at 8 AM under the supervision of a Returning Officer (RO).
Nobody else except the RO, counting staff, candidates, their election agents and counting agents, public servants on duty can be present at the place of counting.
Each candidate can appoint a maximum of 16 counting agents for every counting hall. A counting agent oversees the counting of votes and makes sure to observe if there are any discrepancies.
The Control Unit of the EVM is what the officers use for counting the votes.
First the Control Unit is switched on and then the seal on the 'Results' section is broken. The officers then press the 'Results' button and the total number of votes recorded for each candidate is displayed on the screen which is noted down by the Returning Officer.
This year, there's an additional feature of the VVPAT slips, the paper slips that are printed when you press the button on EVMs.
According to a recent order by the Supreme Court, VVPAT slips from 5 polling stations in each constituency have to be counted mandatorily.
There can be exceptions to this rule, when any candidate requests the Returning Officer to count the VVPAT slips or when the Control Unit of EVMs does not display results due to some technical issues.
If there is any discrepancy between EVM and VVPAT slip count, the paper slip count shall prevail.
After the first round of counting is over, the Returning Officer waits for 2 minutes during which any candidate who feels that there's been a discrepancy in counting can ask for a recount.
After the resolution of the discrepancy, if any, the Returning Officer declares the result and informs the Election Commission about the same.
This explainer video by ScoopWhoop Unscripted breaks down the entire process of the counting of votes.