A total of 2,124,554 voters are expected to cast their votes for the first time using EVMs in these seats
Mock voting using electronic voting machines (EVMs) has been held in six constituencies, including two in Dhaka, to familiarize voters with the newly introduced system ahead of Sunday’s 11th general election.
As part of the preparation to use the machines instead of ballot papers, the Election Commission organized the mock voting at selected polling centres simultaneously from 10am and to 4pm on Thursday.
A total of 2,124,554 voters are expected to cast their votes for the first time through EVMs in Dhaka 6 and 13, Chittagong 9, Rangpur 3, Khulna 2 and Satkhira 2 constituencies.
During a visit to different areas under Dhaka 13 constituency, this correspondent found voters enthusiastically taking part in the mock voting.
Election Commission officials, through loudspeakers, urged people to cast mock votes and learn the use of the machine.
Belal Hossain, an on-duty polling officer at Dhaka Residential Model College centre, said they were teaching people how to use the machine and answering their queries over it.
Presiding Officer Shahinoor Reza told the Dhaka Tribune that it takes two minutes for each voter to cast a vote using an EVM.
“About 50-60 voters cast votes till 1pm today, and they were happy with the new experience,” he said.
However, Nozir Ahmed Bhuiyan, a 75-year-old resident of Mohammadpur area, said it took him more time to cast vote through the EVM, compared to manual voting, as the process was difficult for him to understand.
“I am in a dilemma now... whether I can vote properly on the voting day. But the initiative is good, mainly for the young generation,” he added.
He hoped that the machines would help prevent vote rigging on election day.
Mala Khatun, a resident of Noorjahan Road, who came to Mohammadur Girls High School to clear her confusion overusing an EVM, said: “It is an easy mechanism for all.”
Each of the polling centres in Dhaka 13 includes a polling officer, a presiding officer and seven assistant presiding officers.
The officials engaged in holding the mock voting said the program had been organized to teach voters the use of EVMs and clear any confusion.
The EVM technology will be used for the first time in the upcoming national election, eight years after being introduced in local government elections in this country.
EVMs were first used in June 2010 in the Chittagong City Corporation election. However, from 2015, the Election Commission stopped using the technology due to some errors.
The machines were later reintroduced in the Rangpur City Corporation election in 2016.