Training for POs
Closure and Proceedings
Sealing of election papers in packets
- After the close of poll, all election papers relating to the poll shall be sealed in separate packets
- The covers containing (i) the account of votes recorded and paper seal account, (ii) the declarations by the Presiding Officer, and (iii) the Presiding Officer's Diary, (iv) Visit Sheet and the 16-Point Observer's Report should be sent separately alongwith the voting machine to the receiving centre
All other materials, should be put in four large packets as explained in paragraph
below and sent to the Returning Officer.
The first packet (colored GREEN) should contain the sealed covers mentioned below and should be superscribed as "STATUTORY COVERS":
- the sealed cover containing the marked copy of the electoral roll;
- the sealed cover containing the register of voters;
- the sealed cover containing voter's slips;
- the sealed cover containing unused tendered ballot papers;
- the sealed cover containing the used tendered ballot papers and the list in Form 17B.
Even if a statement or record to be put in any cover isn't there, a slip noting that should be put in the cover and such a cover made.
The second packet (colored YELLOW) should contain the following covers and should be superscripted as "NON-STATUTORY COVERS":
- the cover containing the copy or copies of electoral roll (other than the marked copy);
- the cover containing the appointment letters of polling agents in Form 10;
- the cover containing the election duty certificate in Form 12- B;
- tthe sealed cover containing the list of challenged votes in Form 14;
- the cover containing the list of blind and infirm electors in Form 14-A and the declarations of the companions;
- the cover containing the declarations obtained from electors as to their age and the list of such electors - (Annexure-XI);
- cover containing the receipt book and cash, if any, in respect of challenged votes;
- cover containing unused and damaged paper seals;
- (x) cover containing unused voter's slips ;
- cover containing unused and damaged special tags; and
- cover containing unused and damaged strip seals.
The third packet (colored BROWN) should contain the following items:
- the Handbook for Presiding Officer;
- Manual of Electronic Voting Machine;
- indelible ink set (with stopper having been secured on each phial effectively with molten candle or wax applied thereon to prevent leakage or evaporation);
- self-inking pads;
- the metal seal of the Presiding Officer;
- the arrow cross-mark rubber stamp for marking tendered ballot papers; ,
- Cup for setting the indelible ink.
All the other items, if any, should be packed into the Fourth packet (colored Blue).
The candidate and his agent shall be allowed to fix their seals on the following
- the marked copy of electoral roll;
- the register of voters;
- Voter's slips;
- the used tendered ballot papers and the list of tendered votes in Form
- the unused tendered ballot papers;
- the list of challenged votes; 17B;
- the unused and damaged paper seals, if any;
- appointment letters of polling agents; and
- any other papers that the Returning Officer has directed to be kept in a sealed packet.
Sealing of Covers:
Each of the five smaller covers/packets to be included in the first packet marked "STATUTORY COVERS" should be sealed. The "NON- STATUTORY COVERS" may be prepared separately, but need not be sealed (except the cover containing the list of challenged votes in Form 14. All these unsealed covers and the sealed cover, containing list of challenged votes in Form 14, should simply be placed in the respective bigger covers along with a check memo signed by you. These three bigger packets need not be sealed; but may be properly secured by means of pins or thread.
- Sealing of election papers in packets
Preparation of the diary
- You will be furnished with a duly serially numbered proforma of the diary and should use only that proforma to record the proceedings in the polling station.
- You must record all relevant events as they occur. In case the commission comes to know of an event that occurred but has not been recorded by you, you are liable to face disciplinary action. Events must be recorded when they happen and not at the end of the polling day.
Transmission of Voting machine and election papers to the Returning
- After the voting machine and all election papers have been sealed and secured you have to deliver them as the Returning Officer may direct. Any delay will be seen at the EC as grounds for disciplinary action.
You will hand over to the Official-in-charge of the collection centre the
following twelve items of election records and materials and obtain a receipt:-
- the control unit and, ballot unit(s) and printer with drop box of the voting machine duly sealed in their respective carrying cases;
- cover containing the account of votes recorded and paper seal account;
- the cover containing the declarations of the Presiding Officer;
- the cover containing the Presiding Officer's diary;
- Visit Sheet
- 16-Point Observer's Report
- the first packet superscribed "STATUTORY COVERS " (containing 5 covers);
- the second packet superscribed "NON-STATUTORY COVERS"(11 covers);
- the third packet containing 7 items of election materials;
- material for voting compartment;
- lantern, if supplied;
- waste paper basket;
- polythene bag/gunny bag to carry polling materials; and
- fourth packet containing all other items, if any. Items i,ii,iii and iv should be handed over along with item no (i) at the counter arranged specifically for collecting these items. All the above items will be cleared by the receiving official(s) at the collecting centre in your presence.
- Preparation of the diary
- This chapter gives a summary of the handbook, which enables you to recapitulate your duties as a Presiding Officer. Maintain close relation with members of your polling party. Team work, makes your task easier and more enjoyable.
Ensure that —
- you have been supplied with the control unit and the requisite number of ballot units of the voting machine and the same are allotted to and meant to be used at your polling station; you will also get the VVPAT machine if it is deployed at your polling station.
- appropriate ballot paper has been duly affixed and properly aligned on each ballot unit;
- slide switch on each ballot unit has been set to appropriate position;
- the candidate set section of the control unit and each ballot unit are duly sealed and address tags firmly attached to each of them.
- Both the control unit and the ballot unit are duly sealed with the Pink Paper Seal(PPS) having the signature of representatives of political parties/ candidates and engineers of manufacturing units.
- All the polling materials have been given to you.
- Check particularly the Register of voters, voter's slips, ballot papers to be used for tendered votes, arrow cross mark rubber stamp for marking tendered Votes, green paper seals, sealing wax, indelible ink, etc.
- Compare marked copies of electoral roll with other copies and see that all copies are identical and that marked copy of electoral roll contains no mark other than 'PB'. and 'EDC'
2.4 See that
(i) deletions of names and corrections as per supplement have been
(ii) all pages of working copy of roll are serially numbered in manuscript; incorporated in all copies of electoral roll;
(iii) printed serial numbers of voters are not corrected in ink and no new number substituted manually.
- Set up polling station as per model lay out as far as practicable.
- Ensure separate entrance and exit for voters at polling station.
- On the day of Poll, display outside your polling station– A notice specifying the polling area, copy of the list of contesting candidates.
- Appoint a Polling Officer locally if any Polling Officer is absent.
- Start preparation of voting machine including conduct of mock poll at least one hour before the hour fixed for the commencement of poll.
- Interlink ballot units and control unit
- Put the power switch to 'ON' position in the rear compartment of control unit.
- Secure the rear compartment of the control unit by tying a thin wire and giving it a few twists or with the help of a twine thread and tying a knot.
- Show to all the polling agents, who are present at the polling station that the voting machine is clear and no vote is already recorded therein.
- Conduct a mock poll with the help of Polling Officers/contesting candidates/polling agents to record a few votes for each of the candidates.
- Clear the data in the machine after conducting the mock poll and showing the result of such mock poll to all present.
- Fix green paper seal(s) in the frame on the door of the inner compartment of result section of control unit.
- Close the door of the inner compartment of result section in such a way that the two open ends of the paper seal project outwards from the sides of the inner compartment.
- Put your full signature on the white surface of the green paper seal below the printed serial number.
- Obtain the signatures of polling agents, who are present at the polling station and are desirous of putting the their signatures on the paper seal. Allow them to note the serial number of paper seal.
- Seal the door of the inner compartment of result section of control unit with special tag.
- Close the outer cover of result section of control unit and seal it. Thereafter attach an address tag thereto firmly.
- Secure and seal the Control Unit from outside completely with the strip seal.
- Allow the polling agents also to affix their seals on the outer cover of result section of control unit.
- Place the ballot unit(s) in the voting compartment. Place the control unit on your table or on the table of Third Polling Officer, whosoever is given the charge of control unit, as the case may be.
- The interconnecting cable should be so routed that it does not obstruct the movement for voters inside the polling station and they have not to tread or trip over it, but the entire length of the cable should be visible and under no circumstances be concealed under the cloth or under the table.
- Demonstrate to the polling agents present that the marked copy of the electoral roll does not contain any entries other than PB.
- Demonstrate also that the Register of Voters (Form 17A) does not contain any entry before hand.
- Read out the declaration and sign it before the commencement of poll.
- Commence the poll at the appointed hour positively.
- Warn every one, who is present at the polling station, to maintain absolute secrecy of voting by reading out aloud section 128 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- Allow only one polling agent of a contesting candidate inside the polling station at any given time.
- Ensure free and fair poll.
- Show due courtesy and regard to the observer appointed by the Commission and furnish all the information required by him. Show the same courtesy and regard to the micro-observer present at your polling station.
- Canvassing within one hundred meters of the polling station is an offence. Use of mobile phone within the polling station is prohibited. You, as Presiding Officer or your first polling officer can use it only for sending reports through SMS.
- Smoking inside polling station is prohibited. See that neither you nor your Polling Officers nor anybody else in the polling station including the polling agents smoke inside the polling station.
- Do not give any special treatment to any VIP or celebrity coming to cast vote.
The duties of Polling Officers, where there are one Presiding Officer and three
Polling Officers, are as under –
The first Polling Officer will have the marked copy of the electoral roll and will be responsible for identifying the electors. The printing and clerical mistakes in the roll will be overlooked by him. The second Polling Officer will have the indelible ink and the register of voters with him. He will apply indelible ink on the forefinger of the elector, enter the part number and serial number of the elector on the register of voters in Column (2) of the register and write down the name of the identification document like EPIC or the alternate document produced by the elector in the 4 the Register alongwith the last four digits of the serial number of such document. He will then and obtain the signature/thumb impression of the voter before issuing the voter's slip to the elector. The third Polling Officer will be in-charge of the control unit. He will take the voter's slip from the elector, check the indelible ink mark on his left hand forefinger and finally press the 'Ballot' button on control unit to make the Ballot unit kept inside the voting compartment ready and direct the elector to go inside the voting compartment and cast his vote by pressing the blue button of his choice on the Ballot unit.
Duties of Polling Officers at simultaneous election, when the polling party consists
of one Presiding Officer and five Polling Officers, are as under:-
The first Polling Officer will be responsible for identifying the electors and will be in-charge of marked copy of the electoral roll.
The second Polling Officer will be in-charge of the indelible ink and register of voters.
The third Polling Officer will be in-charge of the Voter's Slip The fourth Polling Officer will be in-charge of the Control Unit for Lok Sabha Election.
The fifth Polling Officer will be in-charge of the Control Unit for State Assembly election.
- Allow the electors to record their votes exactly in the same order in which they have been entered in the register of voters. Do not allow them to vote unless they have signed/affixed their thumb impression on the register of voters.
- Do not entertain any challenge to the identity of an elector unless the challenger pays challenge fee of two rupees in cash. Maintain record of such challenged votes in Form 14.
- If the challenge is established, hand over the personator to the police with a complaint in writing.
- In the cases of blind and infirm electors, obtain the required declaration from the companion of such blind and infirm electors. Also maintain a record of such voters in Form 14A.
- If you consider an elector to be much below the voting age, i.e., 18 years but are otherwise satisfied about his identity, obtain a declaration from him about his age. Do not question his eligibility.
- Do not press or compel an elector to vote if he decides not to vote after his particulars have been noted in the register of voters. Make an entry to that effect in the 'Remarks' column against the entry relating to that elector in the Register
- Do not change any serial number in column 1 of the register because of any elector who decides not to vote.
- Allow an elector to vote only by means of tendered ballot paper if he turns up at the polling station after some one else has already voted in his name and you are satisfied about his identity. Do not allow him to record his vote in the voting machine.
- Maintain a record of such electors to whom tendered ballot papers have been issued. Such record shall be maintained in Form 17B. Keep the tendered ballot papers and list in Form 17B in a separate cover.
- Do not allow an elector to vote if he refuses to follow the prescribed voting procedure to maintain secrecy of voting after being warned by you.
- Make an entry to that effect in the 'Remarks' column against the entry relating to him in the register of voters. Do not change any serial numbers in column 1 of that register because of such elector.
- order to ensure that all the electors, who are standing in queue at the hour appointed for closing the poll, are able to cast their vote, distribute serially numbered slips duly signed by you to all electors standing in queue a few minutes before closing hour of poll, starting the operation from the end of the queue.
- Allow all persons, to whom such slips have been issued, to vote even if the poll has to be continued for some time beyond the appointed closing hour.
- Formally announce the close of poll after the last such elector has voted.
- Close the voting machine by removing the blue rubber cap covering the 'Close' button and pressing the 'Close' button on the control unit. Replace the blue coloured rubber cap over the 'Close' button after it has been so pressed.
- Prepare the account of votes recorded in Form 17C.
- Give the attested copies of the account of votes recorded to each of the contesting candidates/polling agents. Make declaration to that effect in the prescribed declaration Form.
- After the close of poll, disconnect the ballot unit(s) and control unit.
- Put the power switch 'Off' in the rear compartment of control unit.
- Keep the control unit and ballot unit(s) in their respective carrying cases.
- Seal the carrying cases on both ends, by firmly attaching address tags to each carrying case.
- Allow all contesting candidates/polling agents, who are present at the polling station and willing to do so, to affix their seals on these carrying cases.
- Seal all election papers and materials in separate packets.
- Affix your seal on the covers containing (1) marked copy of electoral roll, (2) register of voters, (3) voter's slips, (4) used tendered ballot papers and list in Form 17B, and (5) unused tendered ballot papers.
- Allow all contesting candidates/polling agents to affix their seals on these covers also, if they so desire.
- Keep all packets of election papers and materials in four bigger packets.
- The first sealed packet superscripted "STATUTORY COVERS"(Colored Green) should contain five sealed covers.
- The second packet of "NON-STATUTORY COVERS"(colored yellow) should contain eleven covers.
- The third packet(colored brown) should contain seven items.
- All other items should be packed into the fourth packet (colored blue).
- Keep the (1) account of votes recorded (Form 17C), (2) declarations made by you before the commencement of poll and end of poll, and (3) Presiding Officer's diary in three separate packets, which should not be put in any of the four bigger packets mentioned above, (4) 16-Point Observer's Report and (5) Visit Sheet. Be careful about the delivery of the 16-Point Observer's Report at the collection centre. Unless this report is delivered at the collection centre, you will not be relieved of your duties on that day.
- Deliver the voting machine, the three packets mentioned in item 34, the 16- Point Observer's Report and Visit Sheet and four bigger packets mentioned in item 33 at the collection centre promptly after the poll, without any delay.
- In order to keep complete and accurate account of events at the polling station, maintain the Presiding Officer's diary properly in all respects. Complete the entries therein as and when any event takes place and not at the end of poll.
- If open violence or riot takes place at the polling station, adjourn the poll. Report the full facts to the Returning Officer forthwith.
- If there is booth capturing or any voting machine or election materials like Register of Voters, marked copy of the electoral roll, etc., are unauthorisedly taken away from your custody or damaged or tampered with, close the poll. Report full facts to the Returning Officer forthwith.
Voting by Persons present at the Polling Station at the Closing Hour
- Even if it starts late, the poll should be closed at the hour fixed for the purpose. However, all electors present at the polling station at that time shall be allowed to vote.
- A few minutes before closing time, announce to all that they will be allowed to vote. You will be supplied Pre-Printed Serial Numbered Slips. Distribute to those electors, slips signed in full by the Presiding Officer which shall be numbered according to the electors standing in queue at that time. The poll shall continue till they have all cast their votes, and police or other staff shall be deputed to ensure that no one else joins the queue. This can be ensured if the slip is distributed from the last person in the queue and then forward to the head of the queue.
Closing of poll
- After all the electors who may be present at the polling station at the appointed hour for closing the poll have voted you should formally declare the poll as closed and should not permit any person to vote thereafter under any circumstances.
- All Presiding officers shall close the EVM by pressing 'CLOSE BUTTON' at the end of poll in the presence of polling agents as may be present.
- The presiding Officer shall draw a line at the end of Poll after the last entry in Form 17A and shall record the signed statement ''the serial number of last entry in form 17A is ............"and obtain the signatures of all polling agents as may be present, below this statement.
Closing the Control Unit of Voting Machine
- For closing the poll after the last voter has recorded his vote you should press the 'Close' button on the control unit, after which no more voting is possible. When the 'Close' button is pressed, the display panels on the control unit will show the total number of votes recorded in the voting machine till the end of the poll (but not the candidate-wise tally). The total number of votes recorded in the machine should be immediately noted in Item 5 of Part I of Form 17C. You should thereafter disconnect the ballot unit from the control unit and put the power switch to 'OFF' position in the rear compartment of the control unit.
- The 'Close' button below the blue rubber cap on the left side compartment. The rubber cap should be replaced after the 'Close' button has been pressed and the poll closed.
- Once the 'Close' button is pressed, the voting machine will not accept any further votes, and so the PO must make sure that no votes remain to be casted.
- You should also note that the 'Close' button will function only when the 'Busy' lamp on the control unit is not on. If the 'Busy' lamp is on because of the 'Ballot' button having been pressed by mistake after the last elector has recorded his vote or such last elector refusing to record his vote after the 'Ballot' button has been pressed for him, the 'Busy' lamp can be put off by switching off the 'Power' switch and disconnecting the ballot unit(s) from the control unit. After disconnecting the ballot unit(s) from the control unit, the 'Power' should again be set to 'ON'. Now the 'Busy' lamp will go off and the 'Close' button will become functional.
- Voting by Persons present at the Polling Station at the Closing Hour
Preparation of account of votes recorded
The total number of votes recorded in the voting machine at the close of poll shall be ascertained by pressing the 'Close' button. If necessary, that button can again be pressed to get the required information. After the close of poll, the PO shall prepare a duplicate of the account of votes recorded in the machine in Part I of form 17C. It shall be kept in a separate cover labeled "Account of Votes Recorded." The total number of votes recorded in the voting machine must be equal to the total number of voters registered as per column (I) of the Register of Voters (Form 17A) minus the number of voters who decided not to vote (as per the remarks column of that register) and also minus the number of voters not allowed by you to vote for violating the secrecy of voting/procedure of voting (as per the remarks column of the said Register). In case of polling stations where VVPAT is used, the test votes recorded under rule 49MA(D) are required to be mentioned at sl. No. 5 of part-I of form 17-C. A sample account of votes recorded as prepared in Part I of Form 17C is given for your guidance at Annexure XIII.
Supply of attested copies of account of votes recorded to Polling Agents
The PO shall give an attested true copy of the Account of Votes to every polling agent present at the close of polls even without his asking. For this, the PO is supplied with extra copies of the Form 17C, slightly more than the number of candidates. If possible, carbon paper shall be used to make the copies. The original Form 17C has to be deposited at the Collection Centre (Strong Room) alongwith the voting machine. The duplicate copy of Form 17C will also be deposited at the Collection Centre.
Declaration to be made at the close of poll
The PO shall make and complete the declaration (Part III, Annexure VII) regarding furnishing of copies of account of votes recorded to the polling agents, at the close of the poll.
- Preparation of account of votes recorded
After the poll has been closed and the 'account of votes recorded' in the voting machine has been prepared in Form 17C and copies thereof furnished to the polling agents present, the voting machine should be sealed and secured for transportation to the counting/collection centre.
For sealing and securing the voting machine, the power switch in the control unit should first be switched 'OFF' and then the ballot unit(s) and, the control unit and the Printer if used should be disconnected. It should be ensured that the paper slip contained in the drop box of the printer shall be intact. The ballot unit(s) and the control unit should now be put back in their respective carrying cases.
Each carrying case should then be sealed at both ends using the thread seal with address tag containing details of the election, the polling station, and the unit inside and the PO's dated signature and seal.
The contesting candidates or their polling agents, who are present at the polling station, can put their seals on the address tag, if they want. Their names should also be noted on the carrying case address tags and also in the declaration made at the close of polls vide Part IV of Annexure VII.