The Election Commission has planned to use information technology in the 11th national election to collect polls results from every polling centre and thus bring dynamism in the election process.
To collect the election results directly from every polling centre through online, the Commission has planned to provide the presiding officers with tablet computers and update the existing election result software, official sources said, reports the UNB.
If the plan is finally implemented, they said, the unofficial election results of most of the country’s 300 constituencies can be announced within two to three hours of the conclusion of voting.
The EC’s ‘Committee for Use of Information Technology in National Identity, Electoral Roll and Election Management’ prepared the proposal at its recent meeting held with committee chief and Election Commissioner Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury in the chair.
Later, the proposal was endorsed at the Commission’s meeting held with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda in the chair.
In the 2014 national election, the Commission indirectly collected centre-wise election results. But it was a lengthy process as the presiding officers of every centre had to come in person to the offices of assistant returning officers concerned to submit the results.
After the complication, the centre-wise results were given in the EC’s software and the returning officers announced the unofficial results easily using the software.
The committee now has planned to avoid this lengthy process by collecting election result directly from the presiding officers through the use of tablets just immediately after the completion of vote counting.
Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury said they will first go for this system to collect polls results directly from every centre in different local body elections on pilot basis to ensure accuracy and gain the trust of all stakeholders ahead of the next parliamentary elections.
‘In this system, a presiding officer will have to put figures of election results together and attach a scanned copy of the result sheet signed by all polling agents in the software by using the tablets. The Commission will accept the results if both software figures and scanned copy’s ones are electronically matched,’ he said.
There will be an option for the returning officer concerned to endorse the centre-wise result in the system, he said.
A total of 42,000 tablets will be needed for some 40,000 polling stations across the country, said the Election Commissioner.
‘We can’t use all available technology in elections of our country as we need to consider mistrust of all political parties. So, we’ve proposed the technology which will invite less mistrust and doubt,’ Shahadat said.
The committee in its proposal said it is also essential to update the existing software.
Besides, it defined some other areas where IT can widely be used for bringing dynamism in the electoral process and result collection process.
The areas are online nomination submission, polling personnel management, election observer management, polls monitoring risk analysis and GIS application for polling centre location and results
Besides, the Election Commission wants to introduce the massive use of IT in its human resource management, legal/case management, inventory management and electoral communication system.
About the management of election personnel, the committee in its proposal said the recruitment and polling station management are very sensitive jobs. So, ICT can be used here to avoid any question over the recruitment process and make the process more transparent.
Besides, the committee proposed introduction of online nomination submission saying that all political parties, civil society members, media persons, election observers, women leaders and election experts suggested for introduction of online nomination submission system joining in dialogues with the EC last year.
The Committee also proposed receiving online applications from election observers, collecting information about them and monitoring reports, giving them necessary instructions and identity cards using a single portal.
To use IT in all the areas, the committee estimated that an amount of Tk 50 crore will require for procuring hardware, software and maintenance costs.