Next polls using ballot papers if EVM scheme not passed by mid-Jan: EC Rashida

Election Commissioner Begum Rasheda Sultana has directed to election officials to take preparations for holding the next general election using traditional ballot papers if the new project of electronic voting machines (EVMs) is not passed by mid-January.

“Unless the new scheme of the EVMs is passed by mid-January, these machines cannot be used in 150 (parliamentary) seats. In this case, the EC will have to take preparations for voting on ballot papers,” she said while talking to journalists after a meeting with technical experts at her Election Commission office at Agargaon in the capital.

The Election Commission had earlier proposed a project of Tk 8,711 crore to the government for procuring and using EVMs in 150 seats of Jatiya Sangsad. “I don’t think that the project has made any progress,” she said.

“We said that we will use EVMs in a maximum of 150 seats subject to receive of funds,” she said. “If it comes on time, it is better. If not, we will do with what we have. We have the capacity of using EVMs in 70 to 80 seats, (but) I don’t know what we have now,” she added.

She said they did not talk to the policymakers (ministries) about this and said that it is not customary. The EC Secretariat may discuss.

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