Sunday, September 24, 2017

CEC hints at use of EVMs in polls after EC secretary ruled it out

  • Mainul Hoque Chowdhury, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-07-16 22:57:18 BdST

bdnews24

Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs may be used in the next general election, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda has said.

His comment came a week into Election Commission Secretary Muhammad Abdullah’s remark that the option was no longer being considered.

The road map that Election Commission revealed on Sunday for the 11th general election due by 2019 also says nothing about the subject.

EC Secretary Abdullah earlier told journalists that EVMs would not be used in the next elections and so, the issue was not mentioned in the work plan.

But CEC Huda said on Sunday that there was still a chance.

“We have not dismissed the option just yet. It was used in local government elections but discontinued following some glitches reported in 2010-11.

“Any decision over its use will be made following dialogues with the parties,” he said.

Ruling Awami League favours the option but its arch-rival BNP fervently opposes it.

When asked if the EC was prepared to use EVMs, Huda said the commission had around 800 machines but would need around 250,000 for deployment at 40,000 polling centres.

“In the meantime, we have to see if 250,000 EVMs can be made and our staffers and voters can be trained in due time,” he said.

The BNP has already held a meeting with the CEC where its leaders conveyed their reservations about the EVMs in the general elections. They said EVMs would open floodgates to “digital corruption.”

The CEC told them that the option would not be used if any party opposed it.

Following a meeting with the EC on Jul 9, Secretary Abdullah said: “The roadmap, which has no mention of EVMs, has been finalised. Therefore, it will not be used in the next elections for sure.”