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Bangladesh - Corporate - May 10, 2022

EVMs as much obstacle to hold fair election

Saleh Ahmed Husain: The ruling party Awami League wants to complete the upcoming parliamentary elections through electronic voting machine (EVM). The party president has already given such an indication. However, there are various obstacles to implement 100% vote in EVM. None of the Awami League’s allies are in favor of it. BNP and Jatiya Party are opposing. And the EC says that it is possible to use EVM in 100 seats if the confidence of political parties can be gained. The EC does not have the capacity to use EVM in 300 seats.
Prominent people are also not giving much support to EVM.
Especially during the dialogue with the Election Commission, many demanded voting as usual.
It is learned that in the last parliamentary elections, voting was done through EVM in only six constituencies across the country. These are: Dhaka-6, Dhaka-13, Chittagong-9, Rangpur-3, Khulna-2 and Satkhira-2.
A polling officer Sheikh Md Atiqullah, who conducted the EVM votes said that the system of EVM is faulty. During last election and immediate past local UP election, it is observed that the system of EVM is designed like one vote after 7 votes in ‘boat symbol’ will be casted in another symbol. So, a fair election is not possible to conduct through EVMs, he pointed out.
According to the commission sources, it will take about four lakh EVMs to elect 300 parliamentary seats in the country. But now the EC has only one lakh 52 thousand 535 EVMs. Many of these are wasted. With this EVM, voting can be done in maximum 100 seats. Two lakh more new EVMs will have to be purchased for all the seats. New projects have to be taken to buy these machines. At present the manpower trained in this regard is about 13 thousand.
A large number of manpower will also have to be trained. Before the next election, more than one lakh manpower will have to complete training on EVM. Which is a big challenge for the EC.
Asked about this, the director of the project, Colonel Syed Rakibul Hasan said that it is possible to vote in only 100 parliamentary seats with the existing EVM in the hands of the commission. Four hundred and fifty lakh EVMs will be required for three hundred seats.
If you want to know about the Election Commissioner Alamgir told on Monday (May 9th) that the National Assembly elections are one and a half years away. EVM voting in this election has not been decided yet. However, we are reviewing how many EVMs we have and how much it may take. No decision has been taken to use EVM in 300 seats.
He further said that electronic voting machines (EVMs) can be used in 100 seats if the confidence of political parties can be gained in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. However, the EC does not have the capacity to use EVM in 300 seats.
According to the Planning Branch of the Election Commission, four projects of the EC are currently underway. The project, which was purchased by the Election Commission last year, will end in June next year. The EC has no plans to make any new project proposal for the purchase of EVM.
According to multiple EC sources, the EC will prepare to use EVM in every constituency in the upcoming parliamentary elections. For this, training will be given along with buying new EVM.
Recently, the ruling party Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed the party leaders to prepare for the next parliamentary elections. He indicated at a meeting of the party’s executive parliament that voting in the next parliamentary elections would be by EVM. He is hopeful that all parties including BNP and Jatiya Party will take part in the election.
Apart from demanding elections under a non-partisan caretaker government, the BNP has always opposed EVMs. The party thinks that the ruling Awami League has already started various ‘tricks’ to winin the upcoming parliamentary elections.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul said, “EVM is the next thing. We will not go to the polls if Sheikh Hasina is in power.”
Prominent author Muhammad Zafar Iqbal a former professor ofShahjalal University of Science and Technology, of computer science said that Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) is a very low-level tech. Now there are many high-tech accessories. What is being said about EVM is that it is a very high-level technology. Not really. Now there are many high-tech accessories. Our varsity students project with EVM.
He said this while participating in a dialogue organized by the Election Commission (EC) at the Election Building. He also advised not to use this machine without making sure that it can’t be tampered with.
In the last parliamentary elections, EVM was opposed by the then chairman of Jatiya Party Hussain Muhammad Ershad. He said, the people of our country can’t give tips, how to give tips in EVM?
However, Jatiya Party Chairman and Deputy Leader of the Opposition Golam Mohammad Quader said that the Prime Minister had told the executive meeting of the Awami League that the next parliamentary elections would be held on electronic voting machine EVM. He questioned whether there was a difference of opinion between the two sides on how relevant the discussion would be to the election. It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to decide the manner in which the election will be held.
He said that for illiteracy in our country we still have to use the symbol next to the name of the candidate. In such a scenario, there is considerable debate about the rationale for voting on electronic voting machines.

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