COVID-19: INEC to pilot e-voting in 2021, seeks cancellation of continuous voter registration

COVID-19: INEC to pilot e-voting in 2021, seeks cancellation of continuous voter registration

- INEC says it will begin e-voting in 2021

- The electoral umpire also seeks suspension of continuous voter registration

- Yakubu Mahmood, the INEC chairman, notes that the polling unit areas shall be redesigned to ensure substantial compliance with established protocols such as social distancing

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that it would work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections, starting from 2021.

TheCable reports that the INEC said this in its new policy on conducting elections released amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legit.ng gathered that there have been calls for electronic voting over the years but some concerns, including the fear of cybercrime, hampered the process.

An electoral act amendment bill seeking to make e-voting compulsory in elections, however, passed second reading at the Senate in November.

The electoral umpire said in the new policy that it would not only pilot the use of e-voting machines at the earliest possible time after the forthcoming Edo and Ondo governorship elections but would also “work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021.”

COVID-19: INEC to pilot e-voting in 2021, seeks cancellation of continuous voter registration
The INEC chairman, Prof Yakubu Mahmood. Credit: The Nation.
Source: Depositphotos

The commission added that it would regularly clean up the biometric register of voters while continuous voter registration is suspended “for the time being to prevent the health risks associated with it in the context of COVID-19.”

Speaking on the elections in Edo and Ondo, INEC also said face masks would be made compulsory for voters, electoral officials and everyone else at all election locations.

It said the polling unit areas shall be redesigned to ensure substantial compliance with established protocols such as social distancing.

The INEC said: “In order to accommodate additional activities in setting up the PU due to COVID-19, polls shall now commence at 8.30 am and close at 2.30 pm. Personal protective equipment and other safety materials shall be provided for polling staff."

It said infrared thermometers would be used at the various collation centres, alcohol-based hand sanitisers at the polling units for election officials while methylated spirit and cotton wool would be provided for the disinfection of the smart card readers after the fingerprint of each voter is read.

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the INEC disclosed that it would not postpone the Edo and Ondo state guber elections.

It was rep[orted that this was revealed by Festus Okoye, a spokesperson to the commission in an interview on Monday, May 11.

Okoye said it could make the commission lose the right to pick the dates for elections in the future.

INEC had in February fixed the governorship election in Edo for September 19, while Ondo was scheduled for October 10.

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Source: Legit.ng

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