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EC to hold EVM fair in Oct

  • Published at 09:14 am September 15th, 2018
Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) were used in the Khulna city polls last month
File photo of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The Election Commission plans to use EVM in the the upcoming elections scheduled to be held on the last week of December

The Election Commission (EC) is set to organize an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) fair to introduce the technology to the people in October.

According to an Election Commission official, the two-day-long fair will be held at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka.

The Election Commission will set up five to six stalls with polling booths. Besides, a help desk will be set up and 15 to 20 officials will also be working at the exhibition. 

The cost of the fair has been estimated at TK13 lakh.

Election Commission National Identification wing (NID) Director (Operations) Abdul Baten said the fair, modeled after a voting center, will begin either on October 13 or 14.

He said: “We are organizing this fair for everyone. This event is not for any specific political individuals or parties, but they are welcome to visit the fair.”

The commission will not send any invitation to any political parties, although Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda had earlier said they would involve all the stakeholders in the EVM process.

There is an on-going debate regarding the use of EVMs. Civil society and stakeholders concerned on several occasions demanded that the commission does not use the EVM in the upcoming general election, due to some reported malfunctions of the machines. 

However, the commission has decided to move forward with the use of EVMs in the 11th parliamentary polls which is scheduled to be held in the last week of December. 

According to a source, the commission will not hold any further dialogue with political parties on the EVM issue. 

“Even though the commission will not invite political parties, they will send invitation cards to selected college and university students. It also decided to invite teams of 10 to 15 people of different age group from each ward,” the source added.

Addressing the issue, Shusashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar said: “I have no idea why the commission is determined to use EVMs in the next general polls, as these machines need further testing.

“Using EVMs in the next general polls despite objections from several political parties and civil societies could make the commission more controversial.”

An Election Commission official, preferring to be anonymous, said: “No discussions have been held about inviting political parties to the fair. However, the event is open to all.”

On August 30, CEC KM Nurul Huda mentioned that the commission would organize an EVM fair and a meeting will be held in this regard if the stakeholders want to do so.

He also said the decision to use EVM will be made after parliament approval.

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