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EC should address people's mistrust

Use of EVMs no good option for EC: Experts

 Use of EVMs no good option for EC: Experts
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Dr Badiul Alam Majumder // Dr Saadat Husain // Dr Shahdeen Malik

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Special Correspondent  :
Political observers and civil society leaders have raised serious concern over the Election Commission's (EC) sudden move to use EVM in the national polls, as the device can be tempered for manipulating electoral outcome.
"The EC's sudden decision for amending the electoral laws to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the national polls has raised huge controversy. Voters are not trained and disagreement remained in the opposition camp over the use of voting machines," Dr Badiul Alam Majumder, Secretary of Shujan, told The New Nation yesterday.   
He said when such a situation is prevailing; use EVMs in the electoral process has raised serious questions over EC's motive in this regard. It also intensified mistrusts in the minds of people and political parties over EC's role.
Referring to global scientific evidence, Dr Badiul Alam Majumder said, "EVMs are not tamper proof and hackers can alter vote totals by tempering EVMs. In this context, the EC should revert its decision and go for the paper ballot system in future elections to make electoral process acceptable to all the stakeholders."
"EVMs have introduced in many countries and experience of malfunctioning and accusations of tampering have reported there based on evidence. In Bangladesh, EVMs also used in local polls, but not in large scale because of people's negative perception over the new system. Even political parties showed a little interest on EVM,"
Dr Saadat Husain, a political observer and former cabinet secretary, told The New Nation yesterday.
"So, use of EVMs would not be a good option for the EC. It would only raise fresh controversy in a highly divided society like Bangladesh. Even, political parties have already been accused the EC about the misuse of EVM for ragging votes in the next polls," he added.
The Election Commission on Thursday decided to send a proposal to the government for amending the electoral laws so it can use EVM in the next national polls.
Although the ruling Awami League welcomed the use of EVMs, the main opposition BNP and other political parties have opposed it.
Opposing the EC's move, Dr Shahdeen Malik, a civil society leader, said, "EVMs should not be used in the national polls due to widespread feelings of mistrust in the minds of people as well as political parties. It is the EC's duty to realise the people's pulse and restore their trust in the electoral systems to make the upcoming election acceptable."
"The common citizens and political parties must have robust trust in electoral process. Otherwise, it can cause permanent damage to the democratic processes in the country."

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