Election Commissioner (EC) Md. Alamgir on Tuesday said that manipulation in the electronic voting machine (EVM) is not possible as chips are made for one-time use.
“There is no chance to rewrite anything. Also, there is no chance to change the programming,” he told reporters at the Election Commission Secretariat in Dhaka.
He said that many think it is a machine to rig the election, but experts suggest otherwise.
“From my experience of past elections, I have seen that there is no scope for tampering with EVMs. The commission also asked the political parties to check EVMs by their own technical teams,” he said.
The commissioner said that the first thing to say about EVMs is that results can be reversed by programming.
He said that such a statement may be theoretically right, but practically wrong.
“You can say that one company's drugs may be adulterated, but not all other companies' drugs are adulterated. The point is that our EVM is different. Many say it is like EVMs used in India. Actually, it cannot be compared with India’s ones,” he added.
He also added that voter identification is done manually in EVMs in India while in Bangladesh it is done electronically.
He said that since Bangladesh has a voter database with photo and fingerprint, EVMs in Bangladesh can identify real voters where India does not have the opportunity to do so.
Secondly, the programming done for EVMs in Bangladesh can only add, he said adding that voters can only vote. It cannot do anything else, and programming has been done that way, he said.
“So, there is no chance that someone can manipulate the device, not even from outside. So, once it is written there is no chance to rewrite or edit as it is usable for one time,” he said.
Alamgir, also a former EC Secretary, said that EVMs in Bangladesh do not have any connection with the Internet.
“The connection provided with the ballot unit is customisable. Nothing can be inserted into it. You cannot add any other device except the device that is created for this EVM only.”
He added that EVMs used in Bangladesh only add and subtract like a calculator. As calculators do not have the option to change the programme, these machines are also the same.
“Those who are spreading misinformation about EVMs do not know or understand it. They can check any EVM if they want,” he said.
The EC commissioner also said that the advantage of voting in EVMs is that there is no opportunity to vote before or after the election. There is no opportunity to cast a vote without a voter.
“If the voters do not come to the centres, there is no chance to cast the vote. If 10 percent voters turn up, only 10 percent votes can be cast. On the other hand, it is possible for 10 percent of voters to actually vote 100 percent on the ballot. Hence there is no chance of fraud through EVM,” he said.
In response to another question, he said that strict action will be taken against the candidates, agents who would assist in rigging in polling stations.
He said that the agents cannot be kept out of the polling stations as political parties will not accept it.