INEC says it will transmit votes electronically in 2019, but is silent...

INEC says it will transmit votes electronically in 2019, but is silent on altering electoral laws to accommodate the plan

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INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu

As part of its preparations for the 2019 election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cancelled manual transmission of results from polling units.

It will now use e-Collation and Result Transmission System in all the 120, 000 polling units.
The commission opted for the new result transmission system after a three-year trial or test run during by-elections and rerun elections.
But the commission was silent on an important aspect of making the new proposition benefit the country, which is ensuring the method of transmission is captured in the country’s Electoral laws. When in 2015 the commission introduced a new way of accrediting voters with Card Readers, it failed to send a bill to the National Assembly for the laws to recognize the card reading machines. That turned out to be the death of credible elections that year. Nigeria’s professional vote riggers went on to doctor election results and got helped by Supreme Court justices who preferred manual method of accreditation to a technologically enhanced method.

The details on results transmission are contained in a document titled “Towards 2019: Recent technological deployments” made available to stakeholders between March 14 and 21 by INEC.

INEC said the adoption of e-collation followed recurring manipulation of results between Polling Units (Pus) and collation centres.
INEC said: “Observations have shown, over the years that most election malpractices that take place do not happen at the Polling Units (PUs)
“The challenge has been after the polls -between the PU and the Collation Centres, and at the Collation Centres.
“INEC has, therefore, decided to securely transmit election results from all Pus straight to a central database, such that only viewing access  is allowed at the Wards and the LGAs – which ultimately is aimed at eliminating manual collation processes.”
The electoral commission also highlighted the features of the new e-collation system:

•is a robust and well secured platform that collects data from the Polling Units (PUs) and collates the results up to the required level for any set election;

•has the ability to collate and transmit data across the country;

•can collect results from either of the following: Local Government Area (LGA), Ward/Registration Area (RA), or PU;

•works with any election type – Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship or State Houses of Assemblies;

•The portal has a flexible dashboard with a real-time user interface, showing a graphical presentation of the current status of results collated per given time; and

•has been piloted for all bye-elections and re-run elections since 2014.

The document added: “INEC is preparing for 2019, and is further deploying technology to improve its service delivery, make its processes more credible and less prone to manipulations.

“The votes of Nigerians must keep counting, and this is what technology is helping us to achieve. “Continuous Voter Registration is commencing soon, Nationwide – giving an opportunity to those who have recently turned 18 or have not been previously enrolled to vote.

“Operations of the SCRs are being improved to make  the process of voter authentication better.

Result collation process will become better when results are transmitted from the PUs.

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