In a preliminary report on its polls observation, the Election Working Group (EWG) yesterday claimed that voter turnout on Sunday's polls was 30.1 percent on average.
The EWG, which observed 1,689 polling centres in 43 districts, said 28.9 percent male voters and 31.2 percent female voters turned out for the national polls.
Over 8,444 observers of the EWG, a forum of 29 domestic bodies, collected the data from 75 constituencies in seven divisions, it said at a press conference at the capital's Jatiya Press Club.
A detailed report on the findings will be revealed later, said Prof Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah, chairman of Jatiya Nirbachon Porjobekkhon Parishad (Janipop), one of the member bodies.
“After analysing all our findings, we will come up with the final turnout percentage, which could be more or less than the preliminary one,” he added.
Of particular focus were the issues of turnout and voters' safety, he mentioned, adding that people were concerned about those.
The EWG recorded the turnout in three phases this year -- at 10:00am, 12:30pm and 4:00pm. Although the turnout was very low up until 12:30pm, it increased considerably towards the end of voting, the forum observed.
The turnout was recorded at 5.9 percent in the first phase, 17.9 percent in the second phase and 30.1 percent in the third phase.
Gopalganj-1, the seat won by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, had the highest turnout of 74 percent. Dhaka-17, won by Bangladesh Nationalist Front Chief Coordinator SM Abul Kalam Azad, had the lowest turnout of 6.4 percent.
The forum mentioned incidents of violence in different constituencies, but could not give a number of the victims. Seventy-two incidents of violence were recorded outside and 47 incidents inside the polling centres in the constituencies.
It witnessed 21 incidents in which the voters were barred from going to the polling stations, and five incidents in which the voters were forced to turn out.
It also reported other incidents in which ballot boxes were snatched and burnt, crude bombs were exploded and presiding officers were forced to leave due to violence.
Janipop Chairman Nazmul Ahsan said many people could not exercise their voting rights because the atmosphere was not conducive to voting.
He added that this year's elections were completely different from the past ones in Bangladesh's history due to a number of factors, including very low turnout and 153 constituencies going uncontested.