January 05, 2009

Debunking the myth of vote rigging

“It’s unbelievable that nearly 90 percent votes were cast in Monday’s polls, and that means a voter needed only 55 seconds to cast ballot.” - BNP office secretary Rizvi Ahmed

Shada Kalo debunks the myth:
The calculations are correct, but the data is wrong, because one polling center does not equate to only one polling booth. According to the Election Commission, there were 177107 polling booths, and that changes the calculation to:

Average votes cast per polling booth = 70 million / 177101 = 395 votes. Time to cast each vote = (480 x 60) / 395 = 72 seconds.

72 seconds is much better than 14 seconds or 55 seconds per vote, right?

Let’s take a look at the 2001 election. According to the Election Commission there were 56185707 votes cast in 149288 polling booths (29,978 polling stations). Using the same calculations:

Average votes cast per polling booth = 56185707 / 149288 = 376 votes. Time to cast each vote = (480 x 60) / 376 = 76 seconds

4 seconds per vote less time required in 2008 compared to 2001 may seem like it is significant. But consider this: in 2001, a voter would have to go to the polling officer, and give his name and father’s name. Then his record would be pulled up from a printed list, his address and age would be asked and his answers would be verified, then he would be handed a ballot paper and seal.

This time, a voter went to vote with a laminated ID card with an unique serial number. This number would be compared against the printed list. This is much faster than looking up by name, even manually, and there is no scope for confusion between Abdul Alim, son of Abdul Halim and Adbul Alim, son of Azizul Alim, etc.

Then the voter’s photo and other biographical data would be compared on the voter list and photo ID, and he would be handed a ballot.

The saving in time for using the photo ID would easily exceed 4 seconds per voter when compared with the time required in 2001 to verify the identity of each voter.

Our conclusion: a 2008 voter had more time available to cast the vote than a voter in 2001. So people looking for a conspiracy using fuzzy math should look at the 2001 vote first.


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