• Tue. Aug 9th, 2022

The Election Commission cannot take the old path to a new destination

ByChad J. Johnson

Jun 6, 2022

We also hoped that the commission would examine the allegations related to the use of EVM and determine the reasons for these allegations. For example, in the last parliamentary elections, where votes were cast with paper ballots, the turnout was 80.80%. On the other hand, in the six seats where the EVM was used, the participation rate was 51.42%. In one seat, only 45.26% of the votes were cast with the EVM. So, does using EVM suppress voting? Narayanganj Mayor Selina Hayat Ivy made such allegations. If this actually happens, then it would be very unwise to use EVM in the future. Additionally, in the last national election, returning officers were given the power to override up to 25% of votes when EVM was used, meaning returning officers were given the ability to cast 25% of the votes in favor of the candidates of their choice. This matter certainly calls for an investigation.

On top of that, in the Chittagong municipal elections, election results were announced at least twice, which is a clear indication of digital manipulation. Even in the municipal elections in Narayanganj, which most observers considered fair, Taimur Alam Khandakar complained of numerical manipulation. This too needs to be investigated. However, it will not be possible to recount the votes of Narayanganj municipal elections as the EVMs used there do not have the Voter Verification Paper (VVPAT) audit trail. And that is why our top technology expert, the late Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, as the head of the technical advisory committee formed by the electoral commission, had refused to sign the recommendation to buy the current EVM. India’s Supreme Court has also issued directives asking the Election Commission to include the VVPAT in its EVMs.