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Law minister: Innovate technology so that people can cast votes from home

  • Published at 09:14 pm March 2nd, 2020
ballot box
File photo of a voter casting his vote in a polling station Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

He suggested thinking about delivering confirmation slips to voters once their votes had been cast

Law Minister Anisul Huq has called upon the authorities to introduce technological inventions so that voters could cast their votes from home. 

Referring to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in elections, Anisul Huq said: “Technology must be developed soon that can enable people to vote from home by using the internet.” 

“We need to even think of publishing the pictures and NID numbers of voters online so that it can be crystal clear as to how many people have cast their votes at a particular centre. As a result, there will be no questions raised about the number and presence of voters,” the minister said at a discussion on National Voter Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in Dhaka on Sunday.

He suggested thinking about delivering confirmation slips to voters once their votes had been cast.

Bangladesh yesterday observed National Voters’ Day to ensure the participation of people in the electoral process and thereby strengthening and upholding democracy in Bangladesh as well as encouraging the common people to exercise their right of franchise. 

Citing an example, Anisul Huq said:  “EVMs are being used in elections in various countries, including the United States of America, Canada, Brazil, France, and the United Arab Emirates. 

Law Minister Anisul Huq speaks at a discussion on National Voter Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in Dhaka on Monday, March 2, 2020 | Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune“There is no alternative to using modern technology in electoral systems,” said the minister 

He emphasised more research on EVMs so that the technology would be more user friendly and as a result would help to minimize negative comments from voters casting ballots through EVMs.

Later, the law minister distributed smart cards among voters.

Number of voters stands at 10,98,19,112 in Bangladesh

Addressing the event, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda said: “The total number of voters in Bangladesh stands at 10,98,19,112,  a 4.94% rise from 2018.Among them, 5,54,82,530 are male, 5,43,36,222 are female and 360 are from third genders.In 2018, the number of total voters stood at 10,42,40, 282.”

EC not responsible for poor voter turnout, says CEC

Earlier in the day, CEC KM Nurul Huda stated that it was not the Election Commission’s (EC) duty to increase voter turnout; it was rather its responsibility to organize and ensure a fair vote.

Taking part in a procession organized by the EC on the occasion of National Voters' Day at Manik Mia Avenue in the capital, he said there could be several reasons for voters’ reluctance to  cast their votes at the voting centers, but that has much more to do with political parties than with any failure on the EC’s part.

He claimed that the Election Commission had been successful in creating a peaceful environment in the recently held City Corporation elections.

Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukder said that the purpose of celebrating National Voters' Day would be meaningful only if voters could cast their ballots properly. 

“Poor voter turnout is an indecisive signal for democracy. Analyzing its real cause requires efforts. We will have to make sure that voters repose their trust in the entire polling system,” he added.

Election Commissioners Rafiqul Islam, Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury, Kavita Khanam and Senior Secretary of the Election Commission Md. Alamgir were present at the event.