The previous post tried to discuss how an election is rigged in Bangladesh.
Here are some common observations about rigging an election by casting fake votes with erroneously entered names.
1. If there is near 50/50 or even 60/40 chance of any of the two parties to win and with all the major political parties taking part, rigging probably won’t change the election outcome drastically. The factors that will help in such an election are
(A) Casting of fake votes will be challenged by the grassroots rival activists in contested constituencies.
(B) Unchallenged casting of fake votes in one area will be countered by fake votes cast in the rival’s stronghold in another
(C) In constituency like Gopalganj 3 or Bogra 7, the result is so one sided and certain that fake votes won’t dent the results.
(D) Mid level officials take the polling seriously and they feel accountable. In one sided or a already decided election, these
officials don’t have that pressure.
2. Rigging is by no means a one sided affair. All the major political parties or locally strong candidates will try to rig the election by means of fake voting.
3. Probably there is no real meaning to the words like ‘Media coup’ or ‘Fine rigging’ (Shukhkho Karchoopi) in a post 1990 national election. Let me explain why it is not possible. Parliamentary election is in fact 300 different elections. And each different election is also in fact a sum of elections in 100-500 election centers. Votes are polled in each center and counted in the center itself in front of agents of all parties. Then the sealed results, signed by presiding officer as well as the ballots are sent to the DC office. So, if there is any such suspicion, you simply can go back to the individual polling center wise results and add the numbers together. And remember, the counting of each center was witnessed by agents of all the candidates.
4. Occasionally polling centers are occupied forcefully and ballots are cast for a candidate. In a high profile election with better road and telecommunication in Bangladesh, these sorts of crimes are getting more and more difficult to commit. Now a days such attempts are instantly reported by candidates agents via cell phone network and the candidate can have the DC postpone the elections or send magistrate to then center. Candidates themselves sometimes rush to the center with his team.