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National Assembly panel proposes optional electronic voting

The technical committee is made up of members of legislators, INEC officials, the Minister of Justice and representatives of civil society groups.

 Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan

The Joint National Assembly Committee on Electoral Matters, has proposed that the Independent National Electoral Commission, be given the option of using electronic or any other voting method it may deem fit for future elections.

This, is one of several proposals forwarded by the lawmakers to a technical committee on the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act (As Amended).

The technical committee is made up of members of legislators, INEC officials, the Minister of Justice and representatives of civil society groups.

The lawmakers are seeking an amendment to Section 52(2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which gives INEC discretion to determine the procedure for voting in an election.

The section specifically states that, “Voting at an election under this Act shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Independent National Electoral Commission.”

However, the proposed amendment reads, “The Commission may adopt electronic voting or any other method of voting in any election it conducts as it may deem fit.”

A new amendment to Section 63 (4), has, however, made it mandatory for presiding officers to transmit the result of the election from the poling unit to the collation centre.

It reads, “At the end of the voting in an election, the Presiding Officer shall, (a) sort and thereafter count the votes at the polling unit.

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“(b) record the sorted and counted votes in forms or electoral documents a shall be prescribed by the Commission for this purpose.‌

“(c) Announce the result at the polling unit.

“(d) transmit the result of the election from the poling unit to the first level of collation of results to which the polling unit belongs in the constituency where the election is held.” Members of the public are also to be allowed to record the results at polling units.

Subsection (6) states, “A Presiding Officer who willfully contravenes any provision of this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a minimum of five years without an option of fine.”

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