JANIPOP Observation Report on Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangshad Elections 26, June 2010 Part-3

Methodology of Observation

JANIPOP observes elections in home and abroad keeping in mind the international standard of observation. With reference to Muktijoddha Sangshad Elections JANIPOP observed the process in three phases, namely Pre-Election, Election Day and Post-Election events. JANIPOP Chairman exchanged views with the Secretary In-Charge of the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs Mr. Ujjal Bikash Datta, Central Returning Officer Mr. Zakir Hossain, and Assistant Returning Officer Mr. Abu Hena Morshed Zaman on several occasions. JANIPOP Chairman also met the Chief Election Commissioner and the Cabinet Secretary of the Government Mr. M. Abdul Aziz, NDC on the Election Day at New Model High School polling station in Dhaka.

JANIPOP collected sample campaign materials of different candidates in the pre-election phase. JANIPOP surveyed election related press clippings, collected code of conduct, instructions for the candidates, poll officials, and observers.

JANIPOP applied to the Election Commission to get the opportunity to observe the Muktijoddah Sangshad Elections on 9 May 2010. The Election Commission granted interim approval to JANIPOP on 9 June 2010. The final approval letter and accreditation cards were issued on 24 June 2010. After receiving the final approval, JANIPOP convened a Press Conference at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) on 24 June 2010 at 3:00 p.m. and formally shared with the press the intent to observe the Muktijoddha Sangshad Elections scheduled to be held on 26 June 2010 throughout the country. JANIPOP formally thanked the Election Commission for granting approval and necessary cooperation rendered to the organization in the press briefing.

JANIPOP recruited observers from all the six divisional contact points. All the Divisional Coordinators were involved in the recruitment process. Most of the observers had Long Term Election Observation experience (National & International). JANIPOP also recruited female, ethnic, and differently able observers. JANIPOP National Secretariat monitored over telephone with the local offices throughout the day. In case of any difficulty at field level, the observers informed the Chairman and measures were taken promptly. Before they were deployed, the volunteers were de briefed so that they understand very clearly the objective of the observation mission. The checklist was explained to them.

JANIPOP prepared a special checklist with 15 vital questions and a space for special remarks and suggestions. JANIPOP team developed the checklist. All the questions were very simple and easy to understand. Observers provided their feedback over phone throughout the day to the National secretariat. Later on all the feedbacks were compiled into a comprehensive report by the Report Drafting Team.

The Report Drafting Team has done a statistical analysis based on the checklist. The report has been studded with case studies and anecdotes. Photographs from the field have been used in this report as an evidence of specific incidents.

JANIPOP Chairman was the official media spokesperson.

Table 1: Analysis of the Checklist on the election process

Observations No. of Stations Percentage
Adequate Equipment 68 100
Presence of Polling Agents 64 94.11
Timely start 66 97.05
Any violence 5 7.35
Ballot serial at start 66 97.05
Ballot serial at end 64 94.11
Timely end of poll 68 100
Without ID Card 4 5.88
Accessibility 61 89.7
Proper counting 63 92.64
Result 64 94.11
Copy of result available 38 55.88
Generally positive observation 63 92.64

Source: JANIPOP Field data

JANIPOP decided to observe the Election Day process from stationary perspective because this method is suitable for this type of elections. The observers were requested to be deployed one hour before the commencement of the vote casting. They were instructed to observe the counting process. In most cases the male observers were directed to go and observe the poll arrangement of the control room in the office of the Deputy Commissionariate. The female observers were asked to refrain from doing so due to impending Hartal called by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on 27 June 2010. Quite a few observers exchanged views with the on duty Additional District Magistrates (ADMs) and Upazilla Nirbahi Officers (UNOs). They were also instructed to take photographs wherever possible. Moreover, they had to fill out an observation form and to take notes of observations.

Election Day Observations in Chronology

  1. Poll logistics and security arrangements
  2. Presence of authorized polling agents
  3. Timely start of the election
  4. Ballot serial at the start of voting
  5. Voters with ID Cards
  6. Accessibility of differently able voters
  7. Timely closure of poll
  8. Ballot serial at the end of the voting
  9. Total number of voters in the respective polling station

10. Total vote casted at the end of voting

11. Any Violence in and around the polling station

12. Proper counting of casted votes

13. Declaration of results of the elections

14. Availability of copy of the results

15. General comments on the elections

Highlights of the day

Poll Logistics and Security Arrangements

Observers throughout the country reported that supply of poll logistics were adequate. The materials required for the election were available in the polling stations. The Presiding officer and concerned polling officers showed blank ballot boxes and seal to those who were present in general. Markers with indelible ink, pads, and seals were supplied for use in the booths. Each booth had secret stamping areas which were sufficiently private for stamping on the ballot papers. In some polling stations observers reported lack of privacy in the secret stamping areas.

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