Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena on Saturday said that the results of the Lok Sabha polls in Kerala would be announced later than usual on May 23 due to the counting of slips from five EVM’s with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail system. Meena added that the results could be viewed on Suvidha website.

“The counting of VVPAT slips will take nearly four to five hours. The results will be officially announced after the counting of slips. The results can be seen in the Suvidha website,” Meena said.

Meena said all arrangements are in place for counting, with 29 locations being arranged, where the exercise will start at 8 AM. “The counting will start at 8 AM. Postal votes will be counted first. If the margin of victory is less than postal ballot, then we will count the postal ballot again,” he said.

VVPAT enables Electronic Voting Machines to record each vote cast by generating the EVM slip.

Notably, the Supreme Court had recently directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to increase physical counting of VVPAT slips to five random EVMs in each Assembly segment/constituency.

The plea of 21 Opposition parties, for VVPAT verification in 50 per cent or 125 polling booths in each constituency was earlier dismissed by the Supreme Court.

The Chief Electoral Officer also said that the counting supervisor, assistant counting supervisor, micro observer, those with ID cards issued by the Election Commission, counting observers and counting agents will be allowed inside the counting halls.

He also said three-tier security has been set up at the counting centres where the first tier will be around 100 meters from the centre and manned by local police.

“Then we will have the Kerala Armed Police Force within the campus as the second tier. And the gate will be manned by the Central Armed Police Forces. We have already got 16 companies with us guarding our strongrooms. We will ask more if needed,” Meena said.

He said the first round of training for the Returning Officers and other officials were conducted at Chennai by the Election Commission.

The single-phase Lok Sabha poll in Kerala was held on April 23.

(With agency inputs)