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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
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1.09cr new voters in next JS polls

Voter roll updating completes

More than one crore new voters across the country will be entitled to exercise their franchise in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

With them, the voters' number rose to 9.21crore from 8.12 crore of the list prepared ahead of December 29, 2008 national polls.

The final voter list would be published in January, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad yesterday said at a press briefing at the EC conference centre as countrywide field work for updating the voter list has been completed.

The Election Commission will publish a draft voter list, inviting objections and claims on it. "After resolving objections, if there is any, we will publish the final list on January 31," said the CEC.

The EC had been working to make a flawless voter list, said Election Commissioner Shah Nawaz.

"And we believe there will be no controversy over the voter list," he told The Daily Star, alluding to the ongoing political dispute over the mode of an election-time government.

The voter list had always been an issue before the national polls. A controversial voter list contributed largely to the declaration of the state of emergency in early January of 2007, suspending the then parliamentary polls.

Then a voter list with photographs prepared before the 2008 polls removed all skepticism.

The present EC on March 10 began collecting information about voters and those who died since the last updating of the voter list. Enumerators went door-to-door and collected necessary information. This field-level task was completed on December 15.

CEC Rakibuddin at the briefing said the EC might not update the voter list any further before the next elections to be held anytime between October 24, 2013 and January 24, 2014.

However, people, who had not been registered as voters during the countrywide updating of the list, can visit upazila election offices to include their names in it, he added.

As many as 69.30 lakh new voters had been included in the list while 6.73 lakh dropped because they died.

Earlier, the EC in the middle of 2010 included 52 lakh new voters in the list prepared before the 2008 polls.

According to the latest figures, the number of voters in the capital rose to 53 lakh from 36 lakh in 2008. This means more than one lakh in each of Dhaka's 15 constituencies on average had been newly registered as voters. Each of the remaining 285 constituencies across the country has on average 32,000 new voters.

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That's about 3% increase annually which is twice the population growth rate of Bangladesh (1.5%). Only explanation can be that a huge number of voters were not included before, though unlikely.

: Roni Rahman





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