The process was “very easy”, delighted voters said. (AFP)
Bangladesh made use of electronic voting machines for the first time in a general election, though only on a limited scale, a move which received mixed responses from the voters amid reports of glitches in some booths.
Out of the 299 parliamentary constituencies that went to polls, six saw the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), a regular feature in India since decades.
Voting for the 11th national election began with the machines being used in the six seats selected through lottery. These are: Dhaka-6, Dhaka-13, Chattogram-9, Rangpur-3, Khulna-2 and Satkhira-2. The six seats comprises over 2.1 million voters. The results from these six seats could be announced within hours after the voting ends, Bangladeshi media reported.
Electronic voting machines created problems across different voting centres in Dhaka-13 and Dhaka-6, slowing down voting process and leading to long queues, the Daily Star newspaper reported.
Voters in some areas have reported facing trouble when the machines could not recognise their fingerprints, BDnews24.com reported.
Dhaka-13 voter Jagat Dashi Mondol was smiling as she came out of the polling centre at Mohammadpur’s Borabo Government Primary School. When asked about how she felt using an EVM, said, “easy, very easy.”
The polling centre’s Presiding Officer Jayanta Chandra Deb said he replaced three EVMs when they stopped working.
Nazrul Islam, a retired engineer, said his fingerprint was not matching when he went to vote at the polling centre in Lalmatia Mohila College. “But I got to vote using my voter ID. It didn’t take much time.”
On December 27, the Election Commission organised mock voting at selected polling centres to educate voters on how to use EVMs.
The EVM technology is being used for the first time at the national election level, eight years after being introduced in local government elections in the country.
The machines were first used in the Chittagong City Corporation election of June 2010. However, the Election Commission stopped using the technology in 2015 due to some errors. The machines were later reintroduced in the Rangpur City Corporation election in 2016.