Use of EVM in Nat'l Polls: Ershad, left-leaning parties apprehensive | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 02, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:24 AM, September 02, 2018

Use of EVM in Nat'l Polls: Ershad, left-leaning parties apprehensive

Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad yesterday expressed his skepticism over the Election Commission's (EC) decision to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the upcoming general election and underscored the need for more rectification of the decision.

Meanwhile, Workers Party of Bangladesh and the Left Democratic Alliance yesterday in separate statements expressed their apprehension over using the technology in the upcoming polls.

Speaking at a programme at the Jatiya Party's Banani office in Dhaka, Ershad said, “The EVMs should not be imposed on the voters as there is confusion about the system in people's mind.”

“Many people in the country still cannot put thumb impressions. How will they vote by pressing the buttons of EVM?” Ershad said.

However, Ershad, also special envoy to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said his party will clear its stance over the issue through an extended meeting to be held on Wednesday.

Amid strong opposition from one election commissioner, the Election Commission on August 30 decided to send a proposal to the government for amending the Representation of the People Order (RPO) so it can use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the national election to be held at the end of December.

The JP chief also asked the authorities concerned to take opinions from all political parties before using the system in the elections.

Elsewhere, Workers Party of Bangladesh also called upon the commission to hold talks with political parties over the issue, terming EC's proposal to use electronic voting machines (EVM) “putting the cart before the horse”.

In a statement, it said that the EC is not prepared yet to use electronic voting machines (EVM) in the upcoming polls in December.

“Hopefully, the EC will reconsider the matter and take opinions of participating political parties to make a decision,” said WPB, a component of the ruling 14-party alliance, in the statement.

The EC's proposal of using EVMs in the national polls to be held in December has sparked controversy, as opposition political parties already criticised such proposal, saying it would create scope for “digital vote rigging”.

There are ill attempts to taint and even to foil the elections, and such initiatives of the EC would only fortify the “conspiracy”, the party said in the statement.

WPB said during its earlier dialogue with the EC, the party had opined that EVMs could be used in some polling centres as an experiment during the parliamentary polls.

The left-leaning party also slammed opposition parties, especially BNP, which reportedly alleged EVMs would be tools of the ruling party's 'electronic vote manipulation'.

“The proposal is made solely by the EC, not by the government,” it added.

Meanwhile, Left Democratic Alliance (LDA), a platform of eight left-leaning organisations, in a press release said the EC was trying to make election environment complex through proposing use of EVMs just a couple of months ahead of announcing election schedule.

At a protest rally in front of the capital's Jatiya Press Club, LDA called upon the EC to immediately “step aside” from such proposal. 

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