Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rajshahi Polls: Confusion over NID


An enthusiastic Amjad Hossain headed out to cast his vote at the Sabitri Girls' High School polling centre at Ghoramara of Rajshahi city with his shiny new digitised national identity card (NID).

No sooner had he reached the centre at around 11:00am, than his bubble burst. He was told by the polling officer that the voter registration number, not the NID number, is required to cast vote.

It took an hour and a half for this elderly person to go home and get back to the polling centre with the voter registration number. He had to spend the next half hour in the queue again.

After all this, who would have thought that more shocking discoveries awaited the 52-year-old?

After Amjad's voter registration number was verified, he found it hard to believe that someone else had already cast his vote.

"How could the polling officer allow someone else to cast my vote when there's my photograph printed on the new voter roll?" he said while lodging a complaint with Rajshahi regional Election Commission at around 2:00pm.

"The government spent a lot of public money on the NID, but now it is useless for voting purposes," said a disgruntled Amjad.

Several other voters complained about their votes having been cast by others at different polling centres in the city including the centres at Institute of Health Technology (IHT) and Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (RCCI).

A number of other voters left the polling centres without casting their votes as they failed to provide their voter registration numbers to be verified with voter rolls kept at the polling centres.

Sayed Muhammad Musa, the regional deputy election commissioner of Rajshahi and also the returning officer for Rajshahi City Corporation polls, told The Daily Star that the voter registration number on the voter roll is required for casting a vote, not the NID number.

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