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EC investigating ‘EVM vote rigging’ in Barisal

  • Published at 10:56 am September 1st, 2018
A woman casting her vote at a polling centre during the Barisal City Corporation polls on Monday, July 30, 2018 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The alleged irregularities took place in two polling stations in ward 20

An Election Commission committee has finished investigating allegations of irregularities, including vote rigging using the electronic voting machines (EVMs), at 56 voting centres in the Barisal City Corporation.

After going through the committee’s report, the Commission will decide whether re-election is necessary at those centres.

The investigation was carried out in two phases based on complaints of the candidates, Barisal City Corporation election’s Assistant Returning Officer Md Helal Uddin said.

The committee investigated irregularities at 26 centres from August 30 to August 31. Thirty other centres were investigated from August 11 to August 14.

Councillor contenders at two centres of ward 20 have been claiming that there were widespread irregularities at two polling stations.

The presiding officer at number 78 polling station under ward 20 handed over the memory chip of the EVM to the investigation committee on August 30, a month after the election, raising further questions.

Awami League leader SM Zakir Hossain, who vied for the councillor’s seat from the ward, complained of vote rigging using EVM at number 77 and 78 polling stations. 

In a written complaint to the committee, he said the voting centre was changed to give advantage to his rival Awami League candidate. He claimed a man, identifying himself as a judicial magistrate, had entered the number 77 polling station and helped rig the vote in favour of the ruling party aspirant.

A similar complaint was filed by BNP leader KM Shahidullah Shahid, a councillor contestant from ward 12.

Khandokar Mizanur Rahman, the head of the four-member committee,said they were investigating complaints of the contestants. 

“The complaints include vote rigging using the EVM, obstructing voting, throwing out polling agents from the centres, casting fake votes, and incorrect vote counting,” the Election Commission joint secretary said.

“We have recorded the testimonies of election officials of the centres where the alleged irregularities had taken place,” Mizanur said. “We will file a detailed report.”