The Election Commission is considering providing the Bangladeshi expatriates living in different countries with the scope to cast their votes in the next national polls, but turning that into reality will be very hard, says an official.
The commission has been holding dialogues since July 31 with different quarters including political parties, civil society and media, and most of their representatives have recommended giving the expatriates the opportunity to vote.
An official, requesting anonymity, said that the commission has taken an initiative in this regard, but when that will be implemented is still uncertain.
Additional Secretary Mokhlesur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune: “This becomes hard when it comes to implementation. Our primary concern, however, is getting them the National Identity Cards first.”
Explaining the “complicated process”, he said: “Our officials will have to visit different countries and reach out to the expatriates there through the Bangladesh embassies. After they return with the collected data, we’ll crosscheck them with the voter list to find out whether these expatriates were voters before leaving Bangladesh.
“Then their names will then be included in the new voter list.”
But the process will get more complicated during polls, Mokhlesur added.
“The election will be held in 300 constituencies across Bangladesh where people will vote using ballot papers and boxes for the candidates they like. But the same procedure can’t be followed in other countries.
“We’re still trying to find the best way for the expatriates to cast their votes from where they currently live,” he said.