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The EC does not have the capacity to use EVM in 300 seats

The Election Commission (EC) does not have the capacity to conduct EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) voting in all the seats of the National Assembly. The EC has the capacity to vote in EVMs for a maximum of one-third of the seats. Moreover, at the moment the EC does not have the funds to buy a new EVM. In order to vote in EVMs in 300 constituencies of the country, new EVMs have to be procured by revising the ongoing projects. This information has been known from the Election Commission sources.

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It is learned that Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday told a meeting of the party’s executive parliament about the use of EVMs across the country in the 12th parliamentary elections.

Sunday, the party’s general secretary Obaidul Quader and joint general secretary. Hasan Mahmud also informed the media about the use of EVMs in the parliamentary elections across the country.
In this context, it has been informed by contacting the EC that they are not ready at the moment to vote in EVM in 300 seats in the next parliamentary elections.

At present, the Election Commission has one lakh 52 thousand 535 EVMs. EC officials said that with this, it will be possible to vote in maximum 100 seats.

They also said that in order to vote in 300 seats, the Election Commission would have to buy at least two lakh new EVMs. At the same time a large number of manpower has to be trained. More than one lakh manpower will have to complete training on EVM before the next election. Now the manpower trained in this regard is a little more than 13 thousand.

Talking to officials, it was learned that more polling booths and polling booths were set up in the National Assembly elections on the basis of the number of voters.

If the existing 11 crore 32 lakh 57 thousand voters are caught, there will be at least 45 thousand centers and more than two and a half lakh polling booths in the next election. As such, about three lakh EVM machines will be required.

The number of polling stations and rooms will also increase if the current voter list is updated to 2.5 to 3 percent. In addition, 50,000 more machines will be needed in the three categories of eliminating existing machines, keeping some machines in reserve and using them for training activities. In all, at least two lakh more EVMs will be required.

According to the Planning Branch of the Election Commission, 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 EVM purchase.

In order to determine the polling day of the National Assembly elections in December next year or January 2024, the schedule has to be announced one and a half months in advance. As such, within a year and a half, the work of accepting the project, approving and purchasing EVMs and explaining them to the EC has to be completed.

It is learned that the former KM Nurul Huda Commission has bought 1.5 lakh EVMs at a cost of Tk 3,625 crore before the Eleventh Parliamentary Election.

Besides, EC also bought 2,535 more EVMs outside the project. EVM equipment has already been damaged in many districts due to improper storage, some district election officials said.

Incidentally, for the first time in the Eleventh Parliamentary Election, the provision of EVM voting was added. At that time, after this provision was added by amending the Representation of the People Order, in the Eleventh Parliamentary Elections, EVM voting was done in six constituencies of the country.

After that EVM voting was held in different by-elections. Besides, EVM voting has taken place in various city corporations, municipalities and union councils.

Meanwhile, the EC has emphasized the use of EVMs as part of the spread of technology, but has been opposed by various political parties and civil society.

Some have feared EVM fraud. Asked about this, Additional Secretary of the Election Commission Ashok Kumar Debnath told Bangla Tribune that the Election Commission will decide whether the Jatiya Sangsad will be held in EVM or not. The purchase of EVMs has been completed through a project. There is no fund in that project now like buying a new EVM.

He further said that in order to elect the national parliament of EVM, more machines have to be bought. If the Election Commission wants, it can revise the project and do that.

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