Using electronic voting machines (EVM) in a maximum of 150 seats in the next general election is not certain yet as it depends on the government's approval for purchasing the required number of EVMs, said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal.
"If the financial implications of the project do not seem appropriate to the government, they may not approve it," he said during a press briefing following a meeting with the representatives of the Election Monitoring Forum (EMF) on Tuesday.
He also said, "EVM or ballot is not the main issue. The bottom line is that everyone should strive for a free, fair, and participatory election.
"If elections are not participatory and not effectively contested, there is no guarantee how EVMs or ballots will behave. There is no guarantee that EVMs or ballots will be needed at all."
Regarding the exchange of views with the members of the forum, he said, "They asked for clarification regarding different aspects of EVMs. We told them that we have not supported EVM just after joining the office. Six months has passed since we came here. We have tested and analysed the EVM in different ways for a long time to understand how it operates.
"There has been a lot of discussion about it. No one has been able to show that any kind of manipulation is possible through EVM. Now everyone is saying openly that hacking the EVM is not possible. It is a stand-alone machine."
Earlier, a five-member delegation of the forum led by its Chairman Prof Mohammad Abed Ali participated in the meeting with the Election Commission.
After the meeting, Prof Mohammad Abed Ali said they have recently received the registration of the Election Commission.
"We will visit the divisional cities to highlight the positive aspects of EVM. We have discussed these issues with the commission and they said in the next parliamentary elections, EVM will be used in voting for 150 seats," said Abed Ali.
He also said holding elections using EVMs will only be possible if the government gives allocations. Otherwise, the number of seats with EVM will decrease.