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11th general polls: Invalid vote rate breaks previous records

  • Published at 01:09 am January 6th, 2019
Vote counting
Election officials seen counting votes at Shahid Anwar Primary School, Dhaka on December 30, 2018 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

A total of 881,619 votes were announced as invalid by the returning officers of 299 constituencies

The rate of spoilt ballot papers or invalid votes recorded in the recently held 11th parliamentary election has broken all previous records. 

In 11th parliamentary election, a total of 881,619 votes were announced as invalid by the returning officers of 299 constituencies. The spoilt vote rate, compared to total number of voters, is a record 0.85% in this election. 

In the tenth, ninth, eighth, seventh and fifth general elections, the rates were 0.6%, 0.78%, 0.6%, 0.81% and 0.6%, respectively. In comparison with these rates, 11th general polls saw a record number of invalid votes. 

A total of 80,259,172 votes were cast, which is over 77% of the country’s total number of 104,190,480 eligible voters in the 11th general election.

However, compared to cast votes, the spoilt vote rate is higher this time than the rates of other elections, except the 10th polls*. 

*Among 147 constituencies, there were total 43,943,184 voters. Of them, 17,392,887 votes were cast and 263,037 votes announced invalid. In the remaining 153 constituencies, lawmakers were elected by default in the absence of any contesting candidates. 

What is an invalid or spoilt vote

Invalid or spoilt votes are usually recognized and announced by the election authority after voting closes. Votes are announced invalid for couple of reasons, such as if voters place double or invalid seals on the ballots or even fold the ballots in an incorrect way. The invalid votes are marked when the polls officials start the vote counting. Returning officers from respective constituencies announce the invalid vote count when they declare the final results.

Division-wise invalid votes: 

The highest number of invalid votes were counted in Chittagong division, at 217,652, while 32,163 votes were considered invalid in Barisal division, which had the lowest invalid count among the divisions. 

Division-wise invalid votes in 11th general polls:

In contrast, all votes were announced valid in Dhaka 6 and 13, Chittagong 9, Rangpur 3, Khulna 2 and Satkhira 2, where Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were used to cast the votes.

Meanwhile, the highest count of 14,742 cast votes announced invalid in a single constituency was Brahmanbaria 2. This invalid vote count is 4.39% of the total votesin the constituency and 6.77% of the turnout. In Rangpur 6, zero votes were announced invalid.

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