'Since voting through EVMs requires fingerprints, there is no possible way of rigging'
Election Commission Senior Secretary Md Alamgir yesterday said that even though the BNP has issues with the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) at the forthcoming city corporation election, none from the party made an appearance when EC officials were demonstrating the use of EVMs in the casting of votes.
The Election Commission official was briefing the press at the EC Secretariat in the capital’s Agargaon area.
Alamgir said that the British High Commissioner and the US Ambassador in Bangladesh were present during the demonstration, and had expressed their satisfaction on the question of the EVM.
The Election Commission secretary urged the BNP’s top brass to inspect the EVMs as anyone can see how mock voting can be done by using electronic devices.
“But what can be done if they (BNP) do not come? How do we bring them (to inspect the (EVMs) if they refrain from doing so?”, he said about the BNP’s claim that voting could be manipulated through the use of EVMs.
Stating that mock voting would be held and the use of EVMs would be exhibited again at some polling stations before the Dhaka city polls on February 1. Alamgir added: “Since voting through EVMs requires fingerprints, there is no possible way of rigging.”
“However, if a voter does not have fingerprint registered than his or her vote can be cast against their respective national ID cards, and the vote would be cast by a polling officer. But only 1% votes can be cast this way,” stated Alamgir.
Moreover, some polling stations will even be under CCTV coverage.
Confirming the matter, the Election Commission official added: “We have taken measures so that all CCTV cameras outside the polling booth remain active during election time, so that if any one creates anarchy during the election then the offenders can be apprehended afterwards, though none of the CCTV cameras have been installed inside the polling booths.”
‘No massive breach of polls conduct yet’
On the rampant violation of the electoral code of conduct reported against many candidates in the two Dhaka city polls, the Election Commission official said that even though the commission had received some complaints, none of them had been really severe.
Lashing out at the recent attacks on the campaigns of BNP backed mayoral candidates in Dhaka south and north city corporations, Alamgir said:
“Street rallies were held in both cases, without taking prior permission from the police. We have already sat with the Awami League and the BNP in this regard,” he said, adding that many were cautioned beforehand about not breaching the polls conduct.
“We’ve asked them not to repeat the same incident in future. The returning officers have also been told to keep an eye (over such clashes). The recent incidents (attacks) took place out of trifling issues,” he maintained.
The Election Commission official went on saying that it is tough to control the violation of electoral code of conduct in such vibrant and participatory polls.
“But the Election Commission will think of the matter in future. The electoral code of conduct also needs to be amended so they (voters) do not suffer and the candidates can campaign properly,” he concluded.