Electronic voting depends on political consensus: CEC

Electronic voting depends on political consensus: CEC

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Dhaka, May 11 – Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda on Thursday said the electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be used in the next parliamentary polls if all the political parties reach a consensus in this regard.
“If the political parties unanimously accept digital voting machines (DVMs) or electronic voting machines (EVMs), we have to go for it. We’ll try to convince them. If it’s accepted unanimously, we’ll consider the use of the machines,” he said.The CEC made the remarks at an orientation programme of the new committee of Reporters Forum for Election and Democracy (RFED) at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the city.
Nurul Huda said the Election Commission will sit with the political parties and other stakeholders this year and seek their opinions over the EVM use in the next general election, to be held late December 2018 or early January 2019, before taking any decision.
He said his commission has no intention to introduce the machines unilaterally ignoring opinions of the political parties.
The CEC, however, said if the political parties agree on the use of EVMs, the EC has preparation and enough time to arrange the 11th national election accordingly.
Some 3 lakh machines will be required for holding the election based entirely on EVMs, he said.
Earlier in the day, different aspects of EVMs and DVMs were discussed at a commission meeting chaired by the CEC.
Nurul Huda said the issue of EVM use is still at the initial stage. “We have no scope of introducing it immediately. We’ll have to examine technical and technological aspects of EVMs or DVMs further and demonstrate it massively in the local body elections before introducing those in the national election.’
He said the EC will sit in dialogues with the political parties, media and donor agencies in mid-July this year after finalising the EC’s roadmap for the next general election.
Election Commissioners Mahbub Talukder and Brig Gen (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury, EC Secretary Muhammad Abdullah, its Additional Secretary Mokhlesur Rahman and Director (PR) SM Asaduzzaman were present.
A the programme, the 19-member RFED committee, led by its President Soma Islam and General Secretary Moinul Haque Chowdhury demanded ensuring free access of journalists to the EC Secretariat and allocating a permanent room for them there. – UNB

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