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EVM use depends on pol opinion: CEC

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Staff Reporter :
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda on Monday said that use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the national election depends on the opinion of the political parties.
"It's natural for the voters and politicians to be concern about EVM as it is a new technology. We are yet to apprise them of its positive aspects. They will gradually learn about it," he said.
The CEC made the comment during the inauguration of a two-day EVM-used training workshop at the Election Training Institute (ETI) building at Agargaon in the city.
"If the Parliament passes the law to use EVMs, if the notion is accepted by the voters, and if our officers are trained to use EVMs to their full capacity, only then will we use EVMs," Nurul Huda said.
The CEC said if the decision comes from the Law Ministry or from the Cabinet meeting, then EVMs might be used in the national polls.
He further said, "If we decide to use EVM in 25 constituencies out of the 300, the locations will be selected at random."
The CEC claimed that the EVMs have improved technologically since their first use in 2010. The EC plans to use the EVMs in 4,571 unions, 332 municipalities and 491 upazilas in several phases in future.
Different quarters have also criticized the cost that might be incurred if the Election Commission makes the decision to set up EVMs -- just four months before the election.
However, the CEC said the Finance Ministry will deal with the issue, as the Election Commission is not going to spend its own funds.
Mentioning about the existing voting system, the CEC said, "In manual system there is a need of many documents and tools and we have to remain worried about ballot papers. Besides, 70 per cent of the total cost is spent for the law enforcing agencies for security concern. In EVM system, the expenditure will be reduced."
According to the constitution, the EC has to conduct the 11th Parliamentary election between October 30 and January 28. There is a possibility the election will be held near the tail end of December, the EC suggested.
The Election Commission has already approved the proposal to amend the Representation of the Peoples Order (RPO) 1972 in order to pave the way for the use of EVMs in the general election alongside the traditional printed ballots.
BNP and many other political parties are against the use of the EVM in the election, while the ruling Awami League support the idea.
Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said EVMs should not be imposed hurriedly as the machines need to be introduced on a limited scale in national elections.
"Many countries have the EVM system. I was always and am still in favour of it. Yes, it's right that it shouldn't be imposed hastily as it's a matter of practice. We'll have to examine it," the PM said while addressing a press conference at the Gono Bhaban in Dhaka.

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