EC falls short of target in enrolling new voters

Dhaka – The countrywide data collection of fresh voters ended on Wednesday amid poor response as some 16-18 lakh people were enrolled as possible voters, much less than the Election Commission’s estimate of 35 lakh, reports UNB.

The Commission on July 25 last started the 16-day door-to-door data collection of possible voters for updating the country’s voter list.

“The number of fresh voters will finally be 16-18 lakh. Some 14.5 lakh people were enrolled as possible voters till August 7. But, the EC is yet to compile data received from the field on Tuesday and Wednesday,” said an assistant secretary at the EC Secretariat preferring anonymity.

As of August 7, enumerators also collected data of some 7 lakh dead voters for removing their names from the voter list, he said adding that it will take one or two more days to compile all the data gathered across the country.

However, EC acting secretary Helaluddin Ahmed on Wednesday claimed that the Election Commission has got a good response from the fresh voters during the data collection drive of possible voters.

No Rohingya could be registered as possible voter this time as there were upazila-level special committees, headed by Upazila Nirbahi Officers, in 30 special upazilas in southeastern part of the country to prevent Rohingyas there, he told UNB.

When his attention was drawn to the EC’s estimate of 35 lakh voters, the EC acting secretary said many people, particularly the elderly and poor citizens, were reluctant about getting enrolled as voters due to ‘high fee’ of birth registration certificate, which is prerequisite to be a voter.

Helaluddin said the voter registration is a continuous process. “Those who already have already got dropped will be able to get registered as voters anytime throughout the year.”

Any citizen who was born on or before January 1, 2000 is eligible to get enlisted as a voter.

The photographs and fingerprints of the possible voters will be collected in three phases by November 5 next.

The draft updated voter list will be published across the country on January 2 to receive complaints over it. And the final voter list will be published on January 31 next after disposing of the complaints, if any.

According to the EC’s statistics of July 2017, the country has total 10,16,81,475 (101.68 million) voters.