Sitting in jail and hearing slogans reminds me of sealing ballots

Sitting in jail and hearing slogans reminds me of sealing ballots

Resident of Hathazari, Chittagong. Kefayet Ullah has been living in Qatar for 15 years. He is interested to vote in the 12th parliamentary election on January 7. He doesn’t know anything about postal voting without coming to the country. So could not apply for voting.

Abdur Rahim, who is incarcerated in Chittagong Central Jail, is in the same situation. He is in jail in a drug case in the city’s Doublemooring police station. When he came to appear in another case, he told Prothom Alo last Thursday under police guard in the court premises, “I didn’t know you can vote from jail.” I wanted to vote a lot. When I sit in jail and listen to election campaign slogans, I remember sealing ballots. Sorry, can’t vote.’

Not only these two voters. No expatriates, prisoners and voters staying outside Chittagong have applied for postal voting this time. Complaints have been raised that they will not be able to vote this time due to lack of campaign and awareness.

Voters unable to physically vote in person on polling day can complete the voting process by first collecting the ballot paper and sending it by post, called postal ballot.

Voters engaged in election duty, expatriate Bangladeshi voters, government employees, who live outside their area due to employment and prisoners can apply to vote by postal ballot.

For this, an application has to be made to the concerned returning officer within 15 days after the announcement of the schedule. Immediately after receiving the application, the Returning Officer will send a postal ballot paper and an envelope to the concerned voter. The schedule of the 12th National Parliament election was announced on November 15. Accordingly, 30th December will end 15 days.

Chittagong Returning Officer and Deputy Commissioner Abul Basar Mohammad Fakhruzzaman said that no expatriates or prisoners have applied for postal voting. He told Prothom Alo last Friday that only those who are in charge of voting have applied for postal voting. No ordinary person applied (neither expatriates nor prisoners did).

There are about five lakh expatriates in Chittagong, said Assistant Director of Chittagong District Employment and Manpower Department Mohammad Ali. He told Prothom Alo that many people cannot vote by postal vote due to lack of awareness.

Prisoners lodged in jails in Chittagong division also did not apply for postal voting. When asked, Chittagong Division Deputy Inspector General of Prisons (DIG Prisons) Altab Hossain told Prothom Alo that there are about 16,000 prisoners in Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachari, Noakhali, Feni and Comilla. They could have applied for postal voting if they wanted. But no one did this time.

In response to a question, Altab Hossain said that the prisoners have been told that those who have become voters can apply if they want to vote. But no one responded.

Officials of the Election Commission (EC) said that although there is a legal opportunity to vote by postal ballot, voters are not interested in it due to various complications. Voters do not participate in this process due to lack of awareness.

Parliamentary Candidates Talked About Postal Vote. They alleged that due to lack of campaign, expatriates and prisoners did not apply for postal voting. As a result, they are deprived of voting.

Independent candidate of Chittagong-10 constituency and former mayor of Chittagong City Corporation Manjurul Alam told Prothom Alo, “Many of the expatriates and prisoners are voters of my area. But this time none of them can vote. Due to lack of awareness, no one applied for postal voting.

Akhtar Kabir Chowdhury, Chittagong editor of Citizen for Good Governance (SUJAN) thinks that campaigning and awareness should be increased so that prisoners and expatriates are interested in voting. He told Prothom Alo that people want to vote.

According to the prothomalo

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