EVMs to be used at ‘few centres’ in general elections

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 21:14, Nov 08, 2018 | Updated : 21:17, Nov 08, 2018

EVMs have been used in some polling sations in local government elections. File photoAfter much hype over the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the 11 Parliamentary Election, the Election Commission has made it clear that EVMs will be used in the polls slated for Dec 23.
“We have conducted awareness campaigns across the country on EVMs and fetched a good response from the people. We believe using EVMs will save time, money and manpower ... That’s why EVMs will be used in some of the voting stations in urban areas, which will be decided through random sampling,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda said on Thursday (Nov 8).
In an address to the nation, Huda announced the schedule for the general election setting Dec 23 for the voting.
Since the introduction of EVMs at the 2010 Chattogram city corporation election, use of EVMs had thus far been limited to local government elections only.
Oct 31, President Abdul Hamid issued an ordinance on amendment to the Representation of the People’s Order (RPO) paving the way to use EVMs in the general election alongside ballot papers.
The ruling Awami League has been for using EVMs for the national polls while BNP and left-leaning political parties have opposed the idea, expressing concern that it’s possible to manipulate polls result through the machines.
The EC decided to amend the RPO on Aug 30 and later sent it to the law ministry for scrutiny.
The Election Commission had expected the amendment to be made by Parliament, but it was clear that it would not be the case when the Cabinet approved the proposal Oct 29.
The existing RPO was passed in 1972. The use of EVMs has been added to the law through the amendment.
The amendment also includes a minimum penalty of three years in prison and a maximum of seven years for the misuse of EVMs.
On Sep 18, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, cleared a Tk 38.25 billion project to procure 150,000 EVMs.
The full cost will be allocated from the government fund.
Starting this year, the project will be implemented in three stages around Dec 31, 2023.
For the optimum usage of EVMs, as many as 3,110 people will be trained locally and 30 others will be sent abroad.