New Delhi: While the nation sits hooked to TV channels or internet for updates on the counting of votes to Lok Sabha elections on Thursday, don’t expect to get results anytime soon just because Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) ensured faster polling. In fact, with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) counting for the first time, the results are likely to get delayed by five to six hours.

According to Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh, the VVPAT slips will be counted only after the EVM counting gets over. This would be done in keeping with the Supreme Court guidelines.

The process to be employed would be thus: Five (VVPATs) will be randomly selected and they will be counted.

Singh said, “Trends will be out early… A formal declaration of results will be delayed by five to six hours.”  The counting will commence at 8 am with postal ballots. Officials will have to ensure that the postal ballot counting is over with at least two rounds of EVM counting yet to be done.

After the EVM counting is over, the VVPAT counting will commence.

The Supreme Court has said that random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs will take place in five polling booths per assembly segment. Accordingly, the exercise will be held in 20,600 of the 10.35 lakh polling stations across the country. Nearly 39.6 lakh EVMs and 17.4 lakh voter-verifiable paper trail machines (VVPAT) were used in these polling stations.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has launched an IT-based initiative that will enable the system in providing real-time trends and results of the vote counting. The counting trends and results will be available on the ECI Website at https://results.eci.gov.in as well as on the Voter Helpline App, both iOS and Android Mobile Apps. It would be functional from 8 AM and would be continuously updated.

The Voter Helpline App can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple Play Store. For the first time, results would be available on smartphones. Users can find out the winning/leading or trailing candidate details, along with the constituency-wise or state-wise results from the Voter Helpline App. They can also bookmark their favourite candidate and watch real-time results on the Voter Helpline App or make a wish list to track real-time status.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Wednesday turned down the request of 22 Opposition parties to go for 100% tallying of EVM-VVPATs in case of a mismatch. It also refused to entertain the request of counting of VVPAT slips before EVM counting.