INEC begins process to migrate to e-voting, meets machine producers


The Independent National Electoral Commission haa commenced the processes that would lead to the replacement of manual voting with an electronic voting system.

Over the years, there have been calls for electronic voting as a means to improve the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process.

In the buildup of the Edo state governorship election, INEC had announced that it will “work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021”.

On Monday in Abuja, INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said 40 companies who indicated interest in the process have been invited to practically demonstrate how the machines work, preparatory to the full migration.

At the demonstration of the electronic voting machines, Yakubu said the commission invited the companies after it developed specifications of the functions required for the process.

He described the initiative as “another giant step” in the INEC’s continuous effort to “deepen electoral integrity in Nigeria through the deployment of technology”.

He said, “Over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process. The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria.

“In addition, the combination of biometric voter cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter Card and the Smart Card Reader have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections.

“More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.

“Most significantly, the commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.

“The commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.”

“The commission is aware that Nigerians want us to deepen the use of technology in elections. Let me reassure Nigerians that the commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of the EVMs in elections in earnest,” the INEC chairman said.

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