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EC plans to use EVM in next general election

  • Published at 10:45 am July 16th, 2018
  • Last updated at 10:13 pm July 16th, 2018
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File photo: A voter's identity is being checked before she casts her ballot using a electronic voting machine (EVM) at a polling centre during the Gazipur city polls on July 27 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

It is, however, unclear how many EVMs will be used

The Election Commission is going ahead with plans to use electronic voting machine (EVM) in the upcoming parliamentary polls, despite opposition from a number of political parties.

It is, however, unclear how many EVMs will be used. The EC has bought 2,535 EVMs from Bangladesh Machine Tools Factories (BMTF). Currently, the commission has 300 complete sets – one control unit and three ballot units constitute a set – and has started training its officials on EVM operation.

EC’s Assistant Director Sabbir Ahmad said the BMTF had trained senior EC officials in June. The first batch of Upazila and Thana election officials were trained on Saturday. Training of the second batch will take place on Monday.

“We are providing training not only keeping in mind the three city polls but also the national election,” he said.

During the training program, EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said a large number of EVMs will be used in future polls, according to an election official.

Election Training Institute Director General Mustofa Faruque said the training on EVM was a continuous process. “The officials should have the training so that they can operate the voting machines during any election,” he added.

SM Mahmud Arafat, the officer-in-charge of Operations Planning of EC’s IDEA project, who is also a trainer on EVM, said: “All the concerned people, including representatives of political parties and the polling agents, will be trained.

“We are even showing EVM features individually to the journalists. If needed, we will give training to journalists.”

He said there was a “rough plan” to use EVMs in the next general elections. “We are building our capacity so that we can perform well in the next parliamentary polls if EVMs are used,” he added.

Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda had earlier told the media that EVMs will not be used in the national election. 

But Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd.) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury said, “We have plans to use EVMs in the next general polls as some political parties are in favour of it.”

“We are increasing our capacity day by day. One EVM was used in Rangpur election, then we used two in Khulna and six in Gazipur. Now, we have decided to use 11 EVMs in Barisal and two each in Rajshahi and Sylhet,” he said. 

“You can see we are gradually increasing the number. Next, we can arrange several EVMs for the next polls, even the next general election. But it all will depend on political parties,” he added.

Shahadat said there were misconceptions about the EVMs. “We will train everyone gradually to dissipate the wrong massage,” he added.

During the dialogue with the EC, a number of parties, including the BNP, opposed using the EVMs, but the ruling Awami League supported the idea of utilizing EVMs in the polls.

Elections to the three city corporations – Rajshahi, Barisal, and Sylhet – will be held on July 30. The schedule for the 11th parliamentary election will be declared in the last week of October.