Vol. 5 Num 923 Sun. December 31, 2006  
Front Page

Brotee Sample Survey
6 constituencies have 14.7pc excess voters

A survey by a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Brotee, in six constituencies of the country found 2,02,763 or 14.7 percent excess voters on the current voter lists of those constituencies.

The survey conducted through door-to-door visits revealed that the new actual number of voters in the six constituencies should be 14,86,589 while the Election Commission's (EC) voter list shows 16,89,352 persons as voters in those constituencies.

On the 2001 voter list the number of voters in the six constituencies -- Bagerhat-1, Gopalganj-1, Jhenidah-4, Kushtia-1, Narayanganj-3 and Satkhira-2 -- was 13,78,851.

"Mistakes must have been made during inclusion and deletion of names while Election Commission officials updated the voter list, leading to such an excess of voters," Brotee Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sharmin Murshid said at the survey result dissemination programme in Cirdap auditorium in the capital yesterday.

Brotee conducted the survey in association with three other NGOs Peoples' Participation and Research Centre (PPRC), Unnayon Shamannay, and The Hunger Project -- in which more than 10,000 grassroots level NGO workers collected and verified data.

Considering the voter list published in 2001 as their basis of investigation the NGO workers visited every house in the constituencies and deleted the names of those who died, emigrated to other constituencies, had duplications of their names on the list, or are under 18 years of age.

They included the names of those who became newly eligible to be voters or immigrated to the surveyed constituencies recently for various reasons.

The NGOs that conducted surveys in 30 constituencies as a citizens' initiative to identify fake and genuine voters in order to assist the EC, will reveal the results of the rest of the surveys by January 10.

Presenting the survey result Sharmin Murshid said they will submit a report to the EC and hoped that the commission will take initiatives to correct the current voter list for holding a fair election.

The survey report however did not discuss how the excess voters got on the list.

"The Election Commission provided us with just the number of voters in the constituencies; it did not give us the voter list. Therefore the reasons for having excess voters on the list could not be identified," she said.

The Brotee CEO said their survey is correct because they visited every house in the constituencies eliminating any chance of even a marginal error.

"In many previous elections candidates won with a difference of only few thousand votes, which is why having more than 2 lakh excess voters only in six constituencies might have an impact on the election," said The Hunger Project Country Director Badiul Alam Majumder.

"The Election Commission failed to follow the High Court order in regard to updating the voter list and it has yet to publish a draft voter list," he said.

Brotee Executive Committee Member Selina Hossain, who presided over the programme, said there is a lack of proper voters' survey in the country which prompted them to take the initiative.

"We will complete the survey gradually in all the 300 constituencies for a correct voter list," she added.

Syed Ziauddin of PPRC, Shahinoor Alam of Unnayon Shamannay and Khan Sarwar Murshid of Brotee were also present at the programme.

Earlier, a survey by National Democratic Institute, a US based non-profit organisation, also found 1.22 crore excess or duplicate names on the current voter list.