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Dhaka 13 voters complain of EVM technical glitches

  • Published at 11:28 am December 30th, 2018
WEB_EVM-voting_Dhaka-Residential-Model-School-&-College_Syed-Zakir-Hossain_Edited_30.12.2018
A polling officer assists a voter to sign up for biometric features at the Dhaka Residential Model School & College on Sunday; December 30, 2018 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Electronic voting machines are being used for the first time in a general election 

Voters of Dhaka 13 constituency—where Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are being used for the first time in a general election—have complained they are facing technical glitches while casting their votes via the machines.

Before casting a vote, EVMs identify voters via their IDs, and confirm their identities through a biometric signature—such as fingerprints—which is then matched with a registered voters list, accessed by the presiding office.

However, Dhaka 13 voters have complained their fingerprints did not match those of the list, leaving them confused about whether their votes had been cast or not.

Fatema Samdani, a first-time voter, casting her vote from a polling centre in Noorjahan Road in Mohammadpur, said her fingerprints did not match, despite repeated attempts. 

"Now I am unsure whether my vote was cast or not," she said.

However, presiding officer of the centre Md Rabiul Karim said if the voter is registered, then mechanisms are in place to ensure their votes have been cast—even if they face glitches while casting them. 

A polling officer assists a voter to sign up for biometric features at the Dhaka Residential Model School & College on Sunday; December 30, 2018|| Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

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Another voter from Mohammadpur Central University College centre, Syeda Tasmia Hossain, 22, complained about facing a similar problem. 

"I tried pressing my finger [to the scanner] twice, but it [the fingerprint] did not match," she said. "But when the on-duty official pressed his finger [to the scanner] with my voting number, it was accepted. Now they are saying my vote has been cast, but I am confused."

FM Hormuz Rahmed, a 73-year-old voter from Dhaka 13 constituency, told this correspondent: "EVMs might be good for educated people, but those grasping to understand the system are facing problems."

Awami League Dhaka city north unit General Secretary Sadek Khan is competing against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's Advisor, Abdus Salam, for Dhaka 13 constituency. A total of 372,775 have registered to cast their votes.

The Election Commission used EVM exercises in six of the 300 constituencies—Dhaka 6 and 13, Chittagong 9, Rangpur 3, Khulna 2 and Satkhira 2 constituencies—in the voting for 11th parliamentary election currently underway across Bangladesh.