Welcome to Nigeria Rendezvous. Here you can find the “Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)”.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE ELECTORAL PROCESS
- A. INEC OFFICIALS/FUNCTIONS OF INEC
1.Q. What do the letters “INEC” stand for?
Ans. Independent National Electoral Commission.
2.Q. When was the Commission established and how?
Ans. The Commission was established on 5thAugust, 1998 by Decree No. 17 of that year by the Federal Military Government.
3.Q.Where can I find the law establishing INEC?
Ans. Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution.
4.Q. What do the letters “SIEC” stand for?
Ans. State Independent Electoral Commission. (Each state has one to conduct its Local Government elections).
5. Q. What does the letters “EMB” stand for?
Ans. Election Management Body. (This is the body that conducts elections).
6.Q. How many Election Management Bodies do we have in Nigeria?
Ans. There are thirty seven (37) EMBs in Nigeria; i.e. INEC and thirty six (36) States Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs).
7.Q.What are the functions of INEC?
(a)Conduct elections to elective offices except those of Local Government Areas of the thirty six (36) States of the Federation;
(b) Compile and maintain the register of voters;
(c) Conduct any referendum required in line with the 1999 Constitution or any other Act of the National Assembly;
(d) Promote knowledge of sound democratic election processes;
(e) Conduct voter and civic education;
(f) Delimit electoral constituencies;
(g) Register and de-register political parties;
(h)Monitor the organization and operations of all political parties;
(i) Arrange for annual examination and auditing of the finances of political parties;
(j) Monitor the campaigns of political parties;
(k) Carry out recall proceedings where electors can remove an elected representative in State or National Assembly from office if they are not satisfied with the representative’s performance;
(l) Provide rules and guidelines for the operation and conduct of political parties;
8.Q.How many persons make up the Commission?
Ans. The Commission is made up of thirteen (13) members: the Chairman and twelve (12) National Commissioners.
9.Q.How are the members of the Commission appointed?
Ans. The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria appoints the members of the Commission and they are screened by the Senate.
10.Q. Who is the Chief Returning Officer of Nigeria?
Ans: The Chairman of INEC. He collates, announces the scores of candidates and declares the winner in a presidential election.
11.Q.What do the letters “REC” stand for?
Ans. Resident Electoral Commissioner. He/she is in charge of the affairs of the Commission in the State he/she is posted to.
12.Q.How many RECs does INEC have?
Ans. There are thirty seven (37) Resident Electoral Commissioners (one per State and the FCT).
13.Q. Where can I find the Commission’s offices?
Ans. INEC offices can be found in all 36 States capitals, the FCT as well as the Seven Hundred and Seventy Four (774) LGAs of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
14.Q. Where is INEC Headquarters located?
Ans. Plot 436 Zambezi Crescent, Maitama District, Abuja, Nigeria.
15.Q. Who heads INEC’s Office at the Local Government Area (LGA) or Area Council?
Ans. The Electoral Officer (EO).
16.Q. Who is responsible for the conduct of Local
Government/Area Councils’ elections in Nigeria?
Ans: State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) conduct local government elections in the 36 States while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducts the area council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
17.Q.Does INEC supervise the work of SIECs?
Ans. No. Each of the State Independent Electoral Commissions operates independently.
18.Q.What does Gender Equality mean to INEC?
Ans. Gender equality for INEC means creating platforms for equal access and participation of men and women in the electoral process.
19. Q. How many female National Commissioners does INEC have presently?
Ans. INEC has three female National Commissioners presently.
20. Q. Is there a department in the Commission that deals with women issues to promote women’s participation in politics?
Ans. Yes. There is Gender Division in Voter Education, Publicity, Gender and Civil Society Liaison (VEP) Department that promotes women political participation.
21.Q.What are the media used by the Commission in promoting women political participation?
Ans. The Commission uses the following media:
- Advocacy visits;
- Market outreaches;
- Sensitization workshops;
- INEC Citizens Contact Centre.
- B. POLITICAL PARTY MEMBERSHIP/CANDIDATURE/CAMPAIGN
22.Q. What is a political association?
Ans. A political association is an organization or association of persons seeking registration as apolitical party.
23. Q. What is a Political Party?
Ans. A Political Party is a legally registered association by INEC, which sponsors candidates to contest for elections.
24.Q.What is a Political Party manifesto?
Ans. A manifesto is a written document that contains the political party’s vision of how it intends to govern ifit wins an election. It also explains what the party stands for and how it intends to improve the welfare of the people.
25.Q.How can one identify a political party?
Ans. A political party can be identified by its name, logo or symbol.
26.Q.Can a Political Party use the Coat of Arms of the
Federation or the picture of a person as its symbol?
Ans. No. Section 82, sub-section (4), paragraphs (a-d) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, forbids the use of the Coat of Arms or photograph of a person living or dead.
27.Q.Which organization is empowered to register political parties?
Ans. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
28.Q. What conditions should any association fulfil to be registered as a political party?
Ans. For an association to be registered as a political party, it must meet the following conditions:
- The names and addresses of its national officers must be registered with INEC;
- Every citizen of Nigeria must be free to join the association irrespective of place of origin, birth, ethnicity, sex or religion;
- Provision of the minutes of the meeting of members of its National Executive Committee indicating approval and adoption of the name, constitution, manifesto and symbol/logo of the proposed political party;
- A copy of its Constitution must be registered with the Commission;
- The name and symbol or logo of the association must not contain any ethnic or religious representation/idea;
- The headquarters of the association must be situated in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;
- It must hold regular elections for its executive and governing bodies.
29.Q. When can an association submit an application for registration as a political party to the Commission?
Ans. At any time, but if it wishes to participate in a general election it must submit its application not later than six (6) months before the General Elections.
30.Q. What are the roles of political parties?
Ans. The roles of political parties are as follows:
- Formulating policy and vision of the party for the country;
- Selecting candidates for elective posts;
- Conducting election campaigns;
- Monitoring the performance of their elected representatives;
- Guaranteeing the electorate the right to hold different ideas and the freedom to present those ideas without any interference;
- Mediating the relationship between citizens and their government;
- Providing channels through which people hold their elected party officials accountable for their actions in government.
31.Q.Can a Political Party be de-registered?
Ans. Yes. Under the present legal framework, an existing Political Party can be de-registered on grounds of failure to win a seat in the National or State Assembly Elections or due to a breach of any of the requirements for registration.
32.Q.What does the acronym “LGA” stand for?
Ans. Local Government Area.
33.Q. How many LGAs do we have in Nigeria?
Ans. Seven hundred and seventy four (774) LGAs.
34.Q.What is a party congress?
Ans. A party congress is a gathering where a political party nominates candidates for elections (Governorship, National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly Elections) or elects its State and LGA party officials.
35.Q. What is party primary?
Ans. A political party primary is a process of electing candidates who will represent the party in an election.
36. Q. Why do political parties conduct primaries?
Ans. To enable them to democratically elect candidates who will represent the political parties at the various elective posts during elections
37.Q. What is the meaning of political party convention?
Ans. A convention is a gathering where a political party:
- Elects its national officers and/or the presidential candidate for the party;
- Amends the party’s constitution when necessary;
- Reviews, ratifies or alters any decision taken by any of its constituent bodies, units or officials of the party; and
- Appoints external auditors to audit the party’s account.
38.Q.Can professional groups like the Nigerian Labour Congress, Nigerian Bar Association, etc sponsor candidates for elections in Nigeria?
Ans. No, they cannot. Only registered Political Parties can do so. The Nigerian Constitution prohibits any association that is not a party from sponsoring candidates, campaigning or canvassing for votes.
39. Q. Is party membership open to all?
Ans. Yes. Membership of a Political Party is open to all adult citizens of Nigeria whether rich or poor, male or female.
40.Q. Can a woman contest for any elective post?
Ans. Yes. A woman is free to vie for any elective post provided she meets the required qualifications.
41.Q.Is there a limit to the amount I can contribute to a political party?
Ans: Yes. INEC regulates the amount an individual can contribute to a political party. No political party shall accept any monetary or other contribution of a value more than N1,000,000 (One Million Naira) unless it can identify the source of the money or contribution to the Commission.
42.Q. Can corporate bodies contribute money to political parties?
Ans. No. Corporate bodies are not permitted by law to contribute money to political parties or candidates.
43.Q.Is there a limit to the amount an individual can
give as financial support to any aspirant or candidate?
Ans. Yes. According to the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, no individual shall donate more than N1,000,000 (One Million Naira) to any aspirant or candidate.
44.Q.Is there a limit to what a candidate can spend for an election?
Ans. Yes. Section 91 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended provides that:
A presidential candidate can spend a maximum amount of N1,000,000,000 (One Billion Naira);
A governorship candidate can spend a maximum amount of N200,000,000 (Two hundred Million Naira);
A senatorial candidate can spend a maximum amount of N40,000,000 (Forty Million Naira);
A House of Representative candidate can spend maximum amount of N20,000,000 (Twenty Million Naira);
For State Assembly election, a candidate can spend a maximum of N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira);
Chairmanship election to an Area Council, the maximum a candidate can spend is N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira);
A Councillorship candidate can spend a maximum amount of N1,000,000 (One Million Naira).
45. Q. Can anyone arrange for private security at a campaign?
Ans. No. It is an offence to use private security during campaigns. It is the duty of the Commissioner of Police of a state to provide security. A Political Party must notify the police ahead of such rallies.
46.Q.Can anyone use masquerades for a campaign rally?
Ans: No. It is an offence to do so.
47.Q. Can a candidate use abusive language on an opponent during Campaign?
Ans. No. Only decent language, devoid of abusive words is allowed during campaigns.
48.Q. When can political parties commence campaigns
before an election?
Ans. Political Parties are to commence campaigns in public ninety (90) days before election and end twenty four (24) hours to election.
49. Q. Can a third party campaign or solicit for votes?
Ans. No. Only candidates or political parties can campaign in an election.
50. Q .Can I contest for election without being a member of a political party?
Ans: No. The Electoral Act 2010 as amended and the 1999 Constitution do not provide for Independent Candidates. You must be a member of a Political Party and be sponsored by that party to be eligible to contest election.
51. Q. What is nomination?
Ans. Nomination is a part of the process of selecting a candidate for elective post by political parties.
52.Q. To whom should political party submit the names of nominated candidates?
Ans. The list of nominated candidates for election should be submitted to the Elections and Party Monitoring Department at INEC Headquarters for clearance within a stipulated period
53. Q.Is there a time limit for political parties to submit list of candidates to INEC?
Ans. Yes. Political Parties must submit their lists of candidates to INEC sixty (60) days before the date of any election.
54. Q. Can individual candidates submit their list to INEC?
Ans. No. Only political parties are permitted by law to submit lists of candidates to INEC.
55. Q. Can INEC refuse to accept a party’s list or disqualify any candidate?
Ans. No. INEC cannot refuse to accept a party’s list or disqualify any candidate. According to Section 31(1)(6) of Electoral Act 2010 as amended, only a court of law can disqualify a candidate.
56.Q.What can an aspirant who won the party primaries, but whose name was not submitted to INEC as the candidate for his party do?
Ans. This is an intra – party affair. The candidate can present his complaint to his party in writing and copy INEC. He could also apply for the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the result of the primaries from the Commission as evidence. If the party fails to resolve the issue internally, the candidate can go to court to seek redress.
57. Q. Can a candidate be changed or substituted by the party?
Ans. Yes. However, a candidate can only be changed or substituted in case of death of, or withdrawal by the candidate.
58. Q. How can a candidate withdraw from an election?
Ans. You withdraw your candidature by a written notification signed by you and delivered by yourself to the political party that nominated you for onward conveyance to the Commission not later than forty five (45) days to the election.
59. Q.As a candidate, what if I am denied access to the media?
Ans. It is an offence punishable by law to deny any candidate access to the media. If such happens, the candidate should notify INEC and the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, (NBC) stating the media house involved for further action.
60. Q. What happens when a candidate dies before an election?
Ans. His political party will send the name of another nominee to the Commission within the stipulated time (i.e. 45 days before the election).
However, if after the time for submission of nomination and before the commencement of the poll, a nominated candidate dies, the Commission shall cancel the poll in which the deceased candidate was to participate and shall appoint some other convenient day for the election.
61. Q. What happens if only one candidate is nominated for an election at the close of nomination?
Ans. The time for nomination will be extended by seven (7) days and if after the extension, only one candidate remains duly nominated, he/she shall be declared unopposed and elected, except in the cases of a chairman, governorship or presidential nomination where the law requires that a vote be held and the candidate shall:
- have a majority of YES votes over NO votes cast at the election;
- have not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the area councils, LGAs or States in the Federation and/ or the FCT respectively.
C. VOTER REGISTRATION/CVR/PVC:
62. Q. What is Voter Registration?
Ans. Voter Registration is the process of recording details such as names, age, fingerprints, address and photographs of people eligible to vote.
63. Q. What is biometric voter registration?
Ans. Biometric voter registration is the capturing of voters’ unique personal/physical details, i.e. name, address, fingerprints and photographs and thereafter, issuing an authenticated voter’s card to the registrant.
64. Q. What is the meaning of CVR?
Ans. Continuous Voter Registration.
65. Q. What is the meaning of PVC?
Ans. Permanent Voter’s Card.
66. Q. Where can a person register to become a voter?
Ans. INEC designated centre nearest to his/her place of residence during the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise.
67. Q. What are the requirements to register as a voter?
Ans. A person shall be qualified to be registered as a voter if he/she:
- is a citizen of Nigeria;
- has attained the age of eighteen (18) years;
- is ordinarily resident, work in, originate from the LGA, council, ward covered by the registration centre;
- presents himself to the registration officers of the Commission for registration as a voter;
- is not subject to any incapacity to vote under any law in Nigeria.
68. Q. How many times can an individual register?
Ans. The Electoral Act 2010 as amended, allows an individual to register only once and only at one centre.
69. Q. Can I register at a centre other than the one assigned by INEC?
Ans. No. It is an offence to carry out registration at a centre or place not designated by INEC.
70. Q. Can persons living with disability register as voters?
Ans. Yes. The 1999 Constitution allows for people living with disability to be registered if they are eighteen (18) years or above and are citizens of Nigeria.
71. Q. Can a person register for anyone who has attained the age of 18 years but who is not around to present himself physically to the officials?
Ans. No. Each person intending to register as a voter must appear in person before registration officials at designated centres. There is no registration by proxy.
72. Q. Why can’t the registration of voters’ exercise continue till a week before the date of election?
Ans. According to law, registration of voters and the update or review of the voters’ lists must stop at least thirty (30) days before any election and the register to be used for the election must be certified.
73. Q. How can I know that my name is in the register of voters?
I: You should check for your name during the display of voters’ register.
II: Check the INEC website i.e. www.inecnigeria.org. It is a platform for checking your registration status.
III: You can check by sending a text message to this number, 08171646879.Text Format: State (space) last name (space) last five digits of your VIN. Example: Abia Chukwudi 54321.
74. Q. What information is contained in the PVC?
Ans. The PVC stores information such as biometric data i.e. physical attributes, thumbprint, etc. It protects the information stored in the card. The information on the PVCs are electronically programmed and can only be read /assessed electronically with a card reader.
75.Q. Who are those qualified to register during the CVR exercise?
- Adults who are eighteen (18) years and above, who are ordinarily resident, work in, originate from the Local Government Area Council or Ward covered by the registration centre and have not registered before;
- Those who had registered but whose names are not found in the biometric Register of Voters (distribution list) during the display of the register/distribution of PVC; and
- Those who have just turned eighteen (18) years.
76. Q. What am I to bring along during the CVR?
Ans. a. Birth or baptismal certificate;
b. National Passport, Identity Card or Driver’s License; or
c. Any other document that could prove the identity,
age and nationality of the applicant.
77. Q. What do I need to have to collect my Permanent Voter’s Card?
Ans. You need to present your Temporary Voter’s Card to the INEC Officials in order to collect your PVC.
78. Q. What if I cannot find my Temporary Voter’s Card?
Ans. Verify your name on the distribution list during the distribution of PVC or at your INEC LGA Office afterwards. If your name is on the register, you will be required to fill an attestation form to enable you collect your PVC.
79. Q. What if I have my Temporary Voter’s Card but my name is not on the register?
Ans. You will be required to fill an incident form and if you are cleared by the officials, you will be issued with the PVC.
80. Q. Can anyone be prevented from registering, e.g. husband stopping wife or father preventing child?
Ans. No. It is an offence to prevent any eligible registrant from registering.
81. Q. What is the meaning of PRV?
Ans. Preliminary Register of Voters. It is a register that contains the names and other details of registrants who have just been registered.
82. Q. What is Display?
Ans. It is a process of making the PRV available to the public (exhibition) for necessary correction (claims and objections).
83. Q. What are claims and objections?
Ans. A claim is a process of alerting the Commission during display that the name of a person who had registered to vote has been omitted from the register or is not properly spelt;
Objection is to disagree with the Commission on the inclusion in the PRV of the name of a person on the ground that he/she is not qualified to be registered.
84. Q. What can a person do if his/her name, sex or age is wrongly entered in the voters’ register?
Ans. The person should write to the Commission within the stipulated period (5 to 14 days) stating the complaint and requesting necessary correction to be made.
85. Q. What is the purpose of the PRV?
Ans. A copy of the PRV is displayed to enable the public study (scrutinize) the register during which any objection or complaint in relation to the names omitted or included in the voters’ register or any necessary correction is raised or filed.
86. Q. How many days can the PRV be displayed for claims and objections?
Ans. Between Five (5), to fourteen (14) days.
D. TRANSFER OF REGISTRATION OF VOTERS/REPLACEMENT OF LOST OR DAMAGED VOTERS’CARDS
87. Q. What can a person do if his/her voter’s card is lost or damaged?
Ans. You apply in person to the Electoral Officer of your LGA/Area Council for a replacement of the lost/damaged voter’s card. This must be done not later than thirty 30 days before the election. You will be required to pay a processing fee.
88. Q. Can a person have more than one voter’s card?
Ans. No. You can only have one valid voter’s card at a time. During transfer or replacement of damaged voter’s card, the old one will be retrieved from you before a new one is issued. A voter whose card is lost or damaged will be issued a voter’s card with DUPLICATE written on it.
89. Q. Under what conditions can a voter’s registration be transferred from one point to another?
Ans. Relocation to another constituency. Where the voter now resides in another constituency/unit and has applied for transfer on time i.e. more than thirty (30) days to the election.
90. Q. Is it possible to transfer a voter’s registration from one state to another or one area within a state to another?
Ans. Yes, through the following steps:
- Apply to INEC more than 30 days before election.
Write an application for transfer to the Resident Electoral Commissioner through the Electoral Officer of your LGA/Area Council (your present location where you want to be transferred to). Your original voter’s card must be attached to the application if it is Inter-State Transfer; or
- Go to the online address below for a guide on transfer of registered voters: http://www.inecnigeria.org/?page_id=2051; or
- Call 07098117563, 07098110916.
91. Q. How long does it take for the Commission to process application for transfer?
Ans. It will take a maximum of seven (7) days. The Electoral Officer will get in touch with the applicant when the process is completed for collection of his/her voter’s card.
92. Q. After a person’s registration has been transferred, can he/she still vote in his/her former Polling Unit?
Ans. No. After the transfer, the name will be deleted from the list of the former constituency. You can only vote in your new constituency.
93. Q. If an applicant who registered in Lagos wants to be involved in electing the governor in his/her home state, can he/she use his/her voter’s card for that purpose?
Ans. No. Unless he/she transfers his/her registration details to his/her state and is issued another voter’s card to that effect. Voters are only permitted by law to vote at polling units where they were registered and their names displayed.
E. QUALIFICATION/DISQUALIFICATION TO CONTEST ELECTION AND RECALL OF ELECTED OFFICERS
94. Q. What are the qualifications for a person to contest for the following offices: (a) Area Council election in the FCT?
i. One must be a citizen of Nigeria.
ii. One must be registered as a voter.
iii. One must have attained the age of twenty five (25) years for Councillor and thirty (30) years for Chairman/Vice Chairman.
iv. One must be educated to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
v. One must be a member of a political party and be sponsored by it.
(b) Member of House of Assembly?
i. One must be a Nigerian;
ii. One must have attained the age of thirty years;
iii. One must have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent;
iv. One must be a member of a political party and be sponsored by it.
(c). Member of the National Assembly?
i. One must be a citizen of Nigeria and must have attained the age of thirty five (35) years for Senate; and thirty (30) years for the House of Representatives.
ii. One must have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent;
iii. One must be a member of a political party and be sponsored by it.
(d). Office of the Governor of a state?
i. One must be a Nigerian by birth;
ii. One must have attained the age of thirty five (35) years;
iii. One must be a member of a political party and be sponsored by it;
iv. One must have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
(e). Office of President?
i. One must be a Nigerian by birth;
ii. One must have attained the age of forty (40) years;
iii. One must have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
iv. One must be a member of a political party and be sponsored by that political party.
95. Q. Can a person be disqualified from contesting election?
Ans. Yes. A person can be disqualified from contesting election if he/she:
- Is a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State and has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from such employment thirty (30) days before the date of election
- has acquired the citizenship of another country;
- has been adjudged to be a lunatic or of unsound mind by any law in force;
- is under death sentence imposed on him/her by a competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria, or sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud or any other offence;
- is declared bankrupt;
- is within the period of less than ten (10) years before the date of the election, has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty;
- is a member of a secret society; or
- has presented a forged certificate(s) to the Commission
96.Q.What is a recall?
Ans. Recall is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected member of the Area Council, State or National Assembly from office.
97.Q. What is a referendum in a recall?
Ans. A referendum in a recall is a direct vote that determines a question for the purpose of removing an elected member of an Area Council, State or National Assembly.
98. Q. Who can recall an elected member?
Ans. A member can be recalled by more than one half of the registered voters in the affected constituency.
99. Q. What can the electorate do if they are not satisfied with the performance of their representatives?
Ans. The electorate not satisfied with the performance of their representatives can file a petition to INEC for the recall of the representatives. The petition for recall must be signed by more than one half (50% + 1) of registered voters in that constituency and sent to the Commission for verification and further action.
100. Q. What are the steps involved in recalling a representative?
On receipt of a petition by the Chairman of the Commission for the recall of a member of National or State Assembly by more than one half of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency alleging their loss of confidence in that member, the Commission shall within ninety (90) days of the receipt of the petition ensure that:
- The petition for recall presented is signed and arranged according to polling units, wards, LGA and constituency;
- The Commission shall crosscheck that the signatories appear on the voters register;
- The Commission shall notify the member sought to be recalled, stating the fact of the receipt of the petition for the recall of the member;
- The Commission shall issue a public notice or announcement stating the date, time and location of verification;
- The Commission shall verify the signatories to the petition at the designated location;
- If more than one half (50% + 1) of the signatories are verified, the Commission goes ahead to conduct a referendum;
- If the number verified is less than one half of the registered voters in that constituency, the Commission shall write to the petitioners stating that the petition did not meet the minimum requirements and is therefore dismissed
101.Q. What happens when the member is recalled?
Ans. The Chairman of the Commission is obliged to send the certificate of recall to the Presiding Officer/Speaker of the House to effect the recall.
102. Q. Can a Governor of a State or President of Nigeria be recalled?
Ans. No. In the case of a Governor or President, he/she can only be impeached by two thirds of the members of the House of Assembly and National Assembly respectively.
F. ELECTION DAY ACTIVITIES
103.Q.What is an Election?
Ans. An Election can be defined as a process where people vote for preferred candidates or political parties as representatives in government.
104. Q. What do you mean by General Elections?
Ans. General Elections mean the elections held in the federation which may be at all levels, and at regular intervals to select officers to serve after the expiration of the full terms of their predecessors.
105. Q. What is a bye-election?
Ans. It is an election to replace a Member of any of our legislative houses following a vacancy occasioned by death. It may also occur when an incumbent becomes ineligible to continue in office; for example, because of a recall or as a result of a constituency election being invalidated due to voting irregularity.
106. Q. What is run-off election?
Ans. It is an election conducted when the first election fails to produce a clear winner for the position of President or Governor. This can happen when the candidate with the highest votes does not have the required vote spread in the affected State/Federation.
107.Q.What is re-run election?
Ans. A re-run election is an election conducted when the first one was marred by malpractices or when correct procedures were not followed.
108.Q. What is an inconclusive election?
Ans. It is an election where the total number of registered voters in units where the results are cancelled or where the elections are postponed, are sufficient to cause a change in the outcome of the election in the affected constituency.
109. Q. What is a Polling Unit?
Ans: A polling unit is a public place, enclosure, booth or shade recognised by INEC at which voting in an election takes place.
110. Q. Who is in charge of the polling unit during elections?
Ans: The Presiding Officer (PO). He/she oversees a polling unit and conducts election there. He/she is supported by other election officials.
111. Q. What is the duty of a Supervisory Presiding Officer?
Ans. He/she is responsible for the supervision of elections in a cluster of polling units/stations and liaises between the electoral officer and a number of presiding officers (Pos) and assistant presiding officers (APOs) under his/her supervision on all matters affecting the election especially in the collection, distribution and retrieval of election materials.
112. Q. What does “APO” stand for?
Ans. Assistant Presiding Officer.
113. Q. How many APOs work at a polling unit on Election Day?
Ans. Three APOs work in each polling unit on Election Day i.e. APO I, APO II and APO lll.
114. Q. What are the duties of APOs?
APOs work under the supervision of the Presiding Officer. They assist him/her in the conduct of elections in the polling unit posted to.
115. Q. Can a polling unit be located in a private house or places of worship like Church, Mosque, Temple or Shrine?
Ans. No. Polling Units cannot be located in private residences or worship places. Rather, Polling Units are located at public places
116. Q. Who is a Party Agent?
Ans. A party agent is that person representing a political party or candidate at the polling unit or collation centre on Election Day.
117. Q. Are party agents allowed at the polling units and collation centres?
Ans. Yes. Election officials shall allow each party to be represented by one agent at a time in polling units and collation centres provided they are accredited by the Commission. To be accredited, the party must submit the names of the agents not later than seven (7) days before the election to INEC.
118. Q. Can a political party send two agents to a polling unit on Election Day?
Ans. No. Only one accredited party agent per political party is allowed at a polling unit on Election Day. This is to prevent overcrowding at the polling unit.
119. Q. What are the main responsibilities of the party agents?
Ans. Their responsibilities are:
(i) To observe the process of collection and distribution of election materials;
(ii) To observe the polling and counting of ballots as well as the collation and declaration of results on behalf of their parties;
(iii) To call the attention of the poll officials to any irregularity;
(iv) To sign the result sheet;
120. Q. Can a party agent demand for a recount of votes when the Presiding Officer has already completed the counting process?
Ans. Yes. A party agent present at a polling unit may demand to have the votes recounted, but only once.
121. Q. What can an agent or voter do where INEC officials are not following the correct procedure?
Ans. The agent/voter shall call the attention of the officials to any irregularities without interfering with the process.
122. Q. What do I need to present in order to vote on Election Day?
Ans. To be allowed to vote, you must have your permanent voter’s card (PVC).
123.Q. Who are the stakeholders in an election?
Ans. The stakeholders in an election are:
- INEC Officials on election duty;
- Security Agents;
- Candidates and accredited party agents;
- Accredited Journalists;
- Accredited Domestic and International Observers.
124.Q.Can a voter vote for more than one candidate at any election?
Ans. No. No voter shall vote for more than one candidate or record more than one vote in favour of any candidate at any election.
125.Q. Who are Election Observers?
Ans. Election Observers are persons appointed by their respective organizations and accredited by INEC to observe the entire election process (distribution of election materials, accreditation process, voting, sorting and counting of ballots, collation of results and declaration of results). There are two types of election observers i.e. Domestic and International Observers.
126.Q. Who are Election Monitors?
Ans. Election monitors are officials of INEC deployed by the Commission to oversee the conduct of elections.
127. Q. Can an election observer interfere with the conduct of elections?
Ans. No. Observers are not permitted to interfere with the conduct of elections.
They are only permitted to observe the process and to call the attention of officials to any irregularity without interfering with the process.
128. Q.Is it lawful for election observers to handle election materials?
Ans. No. It is unlawful for election observers to handle election materials.
129. Q. Can an observer wear the badge or symbol of any political party on Election Day?
Ans. No. Election observers are not allowed to wear the badge or symbol of any political party. Observers shall comply with lawful directives issued by, or under the authority of INEC or its officials, including a directive to leave the Polling Unit or the Collation Centre if required to do so.
130. Q. Can a person living with disability observe an election?
Ans. Yes, provided he/she is appointed by an organization and accredited by the Commission.
131. Q. Can election monitors interfere with the conduct of elections?
Ans. Yes. Election monitors are staff of the Commission and can interfere with the process of the conduct of elections, especially when it is noticed that poll officials are not adhering to the approved procedures.
132. Q. Are Journalists allowed access to Polling Units on Election Day?
Ans. Yes, but only accredited Journalists are permitted into the Polling Units on Election Day on the condition that they do not disrupt polling. They have important role in reporting on the conduct of elections.
133. Q. Are Journalists allowed to interfere with the election process?
Ans. No. Journalists are not permitted to interfere with the election process.
134. Q. Can a person on wheel chair vote on Election Day?
Ans. Yes. Persons living with disability are usually given preference at the polling unit on Election Day.
135.Q. What is Tactile Ballot Paper?
Ans. It is a specially designed ballot paper that enables a visually impaired person to make his/her choice on the ballot paper unaided (i.e. in secret, independently)
136. Q. What are the steps involved in the conduct of election?
Ans. Accreditation, voting, sorting of ballots, counting, announcing the votes scored by each party, collation and declaration of result.
137. Q. When does election start and end on Election Day?
Ans. Election starts by 8.00 am with accreditation of voters and closes when the last person on the queue votes.
138. Q. What is accreditation?
Ans. Accreditation is the process of identifying voters who are qualified to vote before voting commences.
139. Q. Why are voters accredited?
Ans: (i)To ensure that only those who are registered in that unit actually vote there.
(ii)To stop impersonation as only the owners of voter’s card can vote.
iii) It is designed to check unauthorized and multiple voting.
140. Q. What are the procedures for accreditation?
- The voters queue up in an orderly manner;
- The Poll Officials will use the card reader to read (verify and authenticate) the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) presented by a voter seeking to be accredited to confirm that his/her name is in the register of voters and that he/she is the rightful owner of the card;
- His/her name is ticked on the left side of the register after the confirmation;
- Indelible ink is applied on the appropriate finger of the individual’s left hand;
- If the voter’s fingerprint is not authenticated, the voter may still be accredited if the Presiding Officer is satisfied that his/her name is in the register and that he/she is the rightful owner of the card.
141. Q. Is accreditation compulsory for people living with disability?
Ans. Yes. All persons who intend to vote in any election must be accredited before voting.
142. Q. Would accreditation before voting not waste time?
Ans: No. This procedure is simple and time saving, once people are orderly.
143. Q. Can there be separate queues for men and women?
Ans. Yes. Where culture does not allow men and women to mix up in a queue, separate queues are formed for men and women.
144. Q. Can I send a representative with my voter’s card to be accredited and vote on my behalf?
Ans. No. Voting by proxy is not allowed. You must be physically present at the polling unit before you can vote.
145. Q.I have just been accredited and I understand I have to stay within the polling unit to be able to cast my vote. Does this mean I have to forego every other thing and spend the whole day there just for an election?
Ans. In order to cast your vote, you are advised to stay within the polling unit before voting starts. If you decide to leave, ensure you return to the polling unit before the commencement of voting at 1.30pm. Once voters queue up and the number is recorded, no voter, accredited or not, will be allowed to join the queue.
146. Q. Can anyone be accredited after the time stipulated to join the accreditation queue?
Ans. Yes, but only if you are already on the queue as at the closing time for accreditation. Any voter who comes after close of accreditation (which is presently 1.00 pm) will not be accredited.
147. Q.Is there any sign to show that I have been accredited?
Ans. Yes. The poll officials will apply indelible ink at the appropriate finger of your left hand for accreditation.
148. Q. What is a card reader?
Ans. A card reader is a device used to scan the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to confirm its ownership by the presenter.
149. Q. Will the card reader be used in the forthcoming General Elections?
150. Q. How does the card reader work?
Ans. It stores the voters’ information such as physical attributes, thumb prints etc; it protects information stored in the card. The information on the voter’s card is electronically programmed and can only be read/accessed electronically with the card reader.
151. Q. What are the requirements for me to cast my vote?
Ans. You must:
(i) Have been registered at the polling unit where you want to cast your vote;
(ii) Have your permanent voter’s card;
(iii) Present yourself to the presiding officer at the polling unit;
(iv) Have your name on the voters’ register.
152. Q .What will be the procedures on Election Day?
Ans. Appear in person at the unit where you registered between 8.00am and 1.00pmwith your permanent voter’s card;
- Accreditation commences at 8.00am. Voters are expected to queue up in an orderly manner;
- Card reader will be used to verify and authenticate the PVCs presented by voters
- Accreditation closes at 1.00 pm. A security personnel is required to stand behind the last person on the queue to prevent any other person joining. However, everyone on the queue as at 1.00 pm shall be attended to. The number of the accredited voters is announced and written in the column provided for, on the result sheet;
- At 1.30pm, the accredited voters are invited to queue up in an orderly manner for the commencement of voting;
- Accredited voters on the queue are counted and the figure loudly announced and entered into the result sheet;
- They are invited one after the other to confirm their accreditation and also issued with a ballot paper;
- The voter is directed to a cubicle to make his/her choice on the ballot paper in secret, and thereafter, drop the ballot into the ballot box in the full view of all present;
- Voting is declared closed when the last voter on the queue has voted.
- The ballots are sorted, counted and the votes scored by each contesting party/candidate as well as the rejected/spoilt ballots are announced and filled into the result sheet;
- The result is entered into form EC 60E and pasted at the polling unit;
- The results from the Polling Units are taken to the various levels of collation for computation.
153. Q. What if a voter has no fingers?
Ans. Indelible ink shall be applied on his corresponding toe.
154. Q. What if the voter has no fingers or toes?
Ans. The indelible ink is applied on the corresponding toe of the person brought by the voter to assist him.
155. Q. What if I am blind, can I vote?
Ans. Yes. A voter who is blind or unable to distinguish symbols or who suffers any other physical challenge is accompanied into the polling unit and assisted to vote by a person chosen by him/her.
156. Q. What method of voting is being used in Nigeria currently?
Ans. Open secret ballot system.
157. Q. What is the open secret ballot system?
Ans. It is a system in which the voter thumbprints or makes his/her choice on the ballot paper in secret and drops it in the ballot box (casts his vote) in the full view of all present.
158.Q. What is a rejected ballot?
Ans. A rejected ballot is a ballot where the choice of the voter is not clear e.g. if the thumbprint is
between two parties’ symbols, is not in a box near any party or the ballot paper is not thumb printed at all. Such ballot will be rejected and not counted for any party or candidate.
159. Q. What is a tendered ballot paper?
Ans. It is a ballot paper that is issued to a voter whose right to vote has been used by another voter. After marking, the tendered ballot is delivered to the Presiding Officer and not allowed to be put inside the ballot box
160. Q. Can I vote if my voter’s card is missing?
Ans. No. You cannot vote unless you produce a permanent voter’s card. If yours is missing, then apply for a replacement from the Resident Electoral Commissioner/Electoral Officer of your State/LGA not later than thirty (30) days before election.
161. Q. Can I use my party or work I.D card, ATM card, national I.D card or international passport to vote during an election?
Ans. No. You can only use a valid permanent voter’s card to vote.
162. Q. Can I tell a party agent, poll official or anyone else the candidate or party I want to vote for?
Ans. No. Your choice should be known to you only.
163. Q. Must my ballot paper be stamped, signed and dated by the Presiding Officer to make my vote count, i.e. valid?
Ans. Yes. Failure by a Presiding Officer to stamp, sign and date the back of any ballot paper renders it invalid.
164. Q. During voting, can I write my name on the ballot paper for easy identification?
Ans. No. Where a voter makes any writing or mark on a ballot paper by which he may be identified, such ballot shall be rejected.
165. Q. Can a person who left the polling unit after being accredited return to join the queue when voting has commenced?
Ans. No. Once the voters on the queue have been counted and recorded, he/she will not be allowed to join the queue to vote.
166. Q. Can the election process commence even when no party agents are present in the polling units?
Ans. Yes. Poll officials can commence the election process even when no party agents are present in the polling unit provided they have been duly informed and accredited for the exercise.
167. Q. What happens when the votes cast at an election is higher than the number of accredited or registered voters in a Polling Unit?
Ans. The result of the election in that unit will be cancelled.
168 Q. Can a voter wait behind in the polling unit for the result after voting?
Ans. Yes. But he/she must be orderly and well behaved; otherwise he/she could be ejected by security agents. The law prohibits loitering and other disruptive activities within three hundred (300) meters radius of the polling unit.
169. Q. What is the form used in writing the result of election at the polling unit called?
Ans. It is known as form EC8A
170. Q. If a party agent(s) refuse(s) to counter sign the result sheet, does it invalidate the result of the poll?
Ans. No. Refusal of any party agent to countersign form EC 8A will not invalidate the result of the poll.
171. Q. Who declares election result?
Ans. The result of an election is declared by an INEC official known as Returning Officer (RO).
172 Q. Can a media house announce the result before the Returning Officer?
Ans. No. The Returning Officer appointed by INEC is the only one permitted by law to declare the result of an election.
173. Q. What is the meaning of “Return” in an election?
Ans. Return means the declaration by a returning officer of a candidate in an election under the Electoral Act as being the winner of that election.
174. Q. When results have been announced and a return made, can the result be cancelled by the Commission?
Ans. No. Once results have been announced and return made by the Returning Officer, nobody, not even the Commission can overturn this. Any aggrieved party or candidate can only challenge this in an election tribunal.
175. Q. On what grounds can the outcome of an election be questioned?
Ans. (a) A person whose election is questioned was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the election;
(b)That the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act;
(c) That the respondent was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election; or
(d)That the petitioner or its candidate was validly nominated but was unlawfully excluded from the election.
176. Q. Can a political party or anyone without proper authority print ballot paper or what is capable of being used as ballot paper or result sheet at any election?
Ans. No. It is an offence to do so. Anyone who commits this offence is liable on conviction to a fine of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira only) or imprisonment not less than ten (10) years or both.
177. Q. Can a person vote more than once?
Ans. No. No voter is allowed to vote more than once in any particular election. If you are caught, you may be fined and/or be sent to jail.
178. Q.Is there a punishment for an aspirant who
conspires with an accountant to falsify a document
relating to his expenditure at an election?
Ans. Yes. It is ten (10) years imprisonment on conviction.
179. Q. What is the punishment for a person who registers more than once?
Ans. N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) and imprisonment not exceeding one year.
180. Q. What happens when a political party presents to the Commission a candidate who does not meet the required qualification for the post being sought after?
Ans. It is an offence for a political party to submit to the Commission a name of someone who is not qualified. The political party on conviction is liable to a maximum fine of N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira).
181. Q. Is it legal to induce a voter to vote for someone?
Ans. No. The offender is liable to N500, 000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) or twelve (12) months imprisonment, or both.
182. Q. Is it an offence to sell voter’s card to someone else?
Ans. Yes. Any person who is in unlawful possession of any voter’s card, sells, attempts to sell, buys or attempts to buy any voter’s card whether owned by him or not, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both.
183. Q.Is it allowed for anyone to go to the polling unit with any party poster, banner, flag, badge or symbol on Election Day?
Ans. No. It is an offence to do so.
184. Q. Is snatching of ballot box an offence?
Ans. Yes. Snatching and destruction of any election material attracts twenty (24) months imprisonment.
185. Q.Is it wrong to collect money to vote for a candidate or refrain from voting?
Ans. Yes. It is an offence to give or collect money to vote. Both the giver and the receiver are liable on conviction.
186. Q.Is the use of thugs allowed for political activities?
Ans. No. Use of thugs for political activities is an offence. It attracts a fine of N500, 000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) or three (3) years imprisonment, or both.
187. Q. Are there punishments for falsifying or hiding of financial information by a political Party?
Ans. Yes. Any Political Party that keeps back information regarding their finances and activities from the Independent National Election Commission shall be liable to a fine of N500, 000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only.
188. Q. Can any INEC Official collect money or gift in doing his/her job?
Ans. No. It is an offence to do so. He/she is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) or imprisonment for twelve (12) months or both.
189. Q. Can a Returning Officer deliver false Certificate of Return knowing same to be false?
Ans. No. It is an offence punishable on conviction by three (3) years imprisonment without an option of fine.
190.Q. Can someone use another person’s voter’s card to vote?
Ans. No. It is an offence with maximum fine of N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) or twelve (12) months imprisonment or both on conviction.
191. Q. How can the outcome of an election be challenged?
Ans: The outcome of an election can only be challenged through an election petition.
192. Q. Who can challenge the outcome of an election?
Ans. It is only a candidate or political party who/ which contested an election that can challenge the outcome of that election.
193. Q. Where can an election result be challenged?
Ans. Election results can be challenged in Election Petition Tribunals for Governorship and National and State Assembly elections and the Court of Appeal for a Presidential election
194. Q.Is there a time limit for filing of election petitions?
Ans. Yes. An election petition shall be filed not later than twenty (21) days after the date of the declaration of the result of the election.
195. Q. Is there a right of appeal?
Ans. Yes. Appeals from the Court of Appeal for Presidential elections go to the Supreme Court, while those from National and State Assemblies go to the Court of Appeal, which is the final court for these. For petitions arising out of Governorship Elections, further appeals go to the Supreme Court.
J. INEC CITIZENS CONTACT CENTRE (ICCC):
196. Q. What is ICCC?
Ans. INEC Citizens Contact Centre.
197. Q. What is the function of the ICCC?
Ans. It offers the public constant access to the Commission with enquiries and exchange of information.
198.Q. What is the importance of the ICCC?
Ans. The Centre is designed to enhance transparency and public participation in the electoral process.
199. Q. Through which platforms can someone contact the ICCC?
Ans. The ICCC can be contacted through the following platforms:
- Facebook – www.facebook.com/inecnigeria
- Twitter – www.twitter.com/inecnigeria
- Instagram @inecnigeria
- Email – email@example.com
- Website – www.inecnigeria.org
- Hotlines – 07098115357, 07098117563, 07098110916.
- Glo: 09050858629, 09050858676, 09050858649.
- Etisalat: 08180958715, 08180958717, 08180958709.
- Airtel: 09025038466, 07086945927, 08120183663.
- MTN: 07062896047, 08105119010, 08146697603
- Office – 2nd floor, ICT Building, INEC HQ, Maitama, Abuja.
200. Q. What are the benefits of the ICCC?
- It facilitates access to election-related information and knowledge.
- It contributes to voter education efforts by reaching out to a large number of voters.
- It provides information on how to transfer Registered voters (please refer to the answer to question 90).
- If facilitates verification of voters’ status (please refer to the answer to question 73).
Q & As on Card Readers
Question 1: Why use Card Readers?
Answer: For the first time in Nigeria’s electoral history, electronic voter authentication system, with the aid of smart card readers, is being deployed for the 2015 general elections. Using Card Readers has enormous advantages, which include:
- Once configured, the Card Reader can only read Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Any person that shows up at the polling unit without a PVC or with a card not issued by INEC will not be able to vote.
- The Card Reader reads the embedded chip on the PVC, not the barcode, and it shares a secret code with the PVC; thus it is impossible to falsify the cards.
- The Card Reader authenticates the identity of the voter by cross-matching his/her fingerprints with that stored on the embedded chip. No person can vote using another person’s PVC.
- The Card reader keeps a tally of all cards read, comprising the details of all voters verified as well as those not verified, and transmits the collected information to a central INEC server via GSM data service.
- Information transmitted to the server will enable INEC to audit results from polling units, as well as do a range of statistical analysis of the demographics of voting.
- Collation officers will also be able to use information transmitted by the Card Reader to audit polling unit result sheets and determine whether accreditation figures have been altered.
Question 2: Is the usage of Card Readers for 2015 elections legal?
Answer: The use of the Card Reader for the purpose of accreditation of voters is one of the innovations introduced by the Commission to improve the integrity of the electoral process. It does not violate the Electoral Act 2010, as Amended, or the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as Amended. It adds value to the process in line with the yearnings of Nigerians for credible elections, and accords with international best practices. Whereas the Electoral Act prohibits the use of electronic voting, the Card Reader is not a voting machine and is not used for voting. The Card Reader is used only for accreditation of voters, and only accreditation (and not voting) data is transmitted by it.
Question 3: How does the Card Reader work?
Answer: The Card Reader uses a highly secure cryptographic technology that is used commonly in devices that need to perform secure transactions, such as paying terminals. It has ultra-low power consumption, with a single core frequency of 1.2GHz and an Android 4.2.2. Operating System. The INEC staff operating the Card Reader will scan the PVC of each voter to verify its genuiness before allowing the voter to get accredited. It takes an average of 10 to 20 seconds to authenticate a voter.
Question 4: How long is the battery life of the Card Reader?
Answer: The Card reader has a 3200mAh battery, which can lasts for about 12 hours in continual usage when fully charged. The device hibernates when not in use to save and lengthen the battery life.
Question 5: Who operates the Card Reader at the Polling Unit?
Answer: An Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) at the polling unit has the responsibility to operate the Card Reader. Poll officials that will operate the Card Readers have received extensive hands-on training and are well equipped to handle the task. The Commission has also painstakingly outlined the operational procedures in its ‘Approved Guidelines and Regulations for the Conduct of 2015 General Elections’.
Question 6: Have the Card Readers been tested ahead of the 2015 general elections?
Answer: The Card Reader units have been broadly subjected to simulation Quality Assurance, Integrity and Functionality tests and INEC has full confidence in their performance for election purposes. The device has also been subjected to Performance and Conformance Test, both locally and in Texas, United States, laboratories by the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Research Centre and found to be of the highest quality grade. Besides all these, and with additional time resulting from the rescheduling of the 2015 general elections, the Commission has directed that Stress Test be conducted on the Card Reader device in mock election scenarios – two states in each of the six geo-political zones – ahead of the new election dates. (Details of this exercise will be unveiled by the Commission next week.)
Question 7: Can the Card Reader fail to function?
Answer: Going by the results of tests already conducted, it is highly unlikely that the Card Reader will fail on Election Day. Still, INEC has drawn up serial intervention plans in the unlikely event of the Card Readers failing.
(i) Should there be a challenge with battery power for the device, the Commission has procured more than 35,000 back-up batteries that can be rapidly deployed.
(ii) If the device itself fails in the course of accreditation, the Commission has procured more than 26,000 spares that can be rapidly deployed in replacement within the scheduled accreditation hours of 8a.m. – 1p.m. Whatever time is lost on these scheduled hours in the course of replacement will be added and accreditation extended beyond 1p.m. to compensate for the lost time.
(iii) In the extremely unlikely and isolated event that a faulty Card Reader can’t be replaced within the scheduled accreditation hours, INEC has come to a firm agreement with political parties that the exercise be repeated the following day rather than revert to manual accreditation.
These procedures, which registered political parties have agreed to, have been written into the ‘Approved Guidelines and Regulations for the Conduct of 2015 General Elections’.
Question 8: What if the Card Reader verifies a voter’s PVC but his/her fingerprints cannot be authenticated?
Answer: The Commission has come to an agreement with registered political parties on what to do: namely that if a voter’s PVC has been read and it is evident that he/she is the legitimate holder of the card, but the fingerprints cannot be authenticated (or he/she doesn’t have fingers), the Presiding Officer of the voting point will complete an incident form and the voter will be accredited to vote. Party Agents and Observers would be there to witness to this.
Question 9: Is it possible to accredit all voters who turn out within the stipulated hours for accreditation using the Card Reader?
Answer: The accreditation of a voter, using the Card Reader, is estimated to last an average of 10 to 20 seconds per voter. Even if we double this time to 20 to 45 seconds for planning purposes, and working on the basis of a maximum of 750 voters per voting point, and using a generous projection of 70% voter turnout (the average being 54% from past elections), which equates to 525 voters, the card reader will need 6.5hours to process all the voters. This is well within the operating time for the elections as well as the battery life of the Card reader.
Question 10: How is the Card Reader programmed?
Answer: To prevent fraudulent use, the Card Rader is configured to work only on Election Days. In addition, the device is configured to specific polling units and cannot be used elsewhere without requiring reconfiguration by authorised INEC personnel.
Question 11: How has the INEC’s Card Reader addressed the problems experienced in other countries in the sub-region?
Answer: The challenge with a few of the Card Reader devices in Ghana, for instance, during the country’s 2012 general elections was the battery power, apparently because the affected devices were not fully charged. It was in learning from this experience that INEC designed the Card Readers to be used in the 2015 elections with 12-hour battery life in active usage, and also procured more than 35,000 units of back-up batteries. The imperative of adequate charging of the Card Readers is underscored during the trainings of election personnel.
The supposed technology failures during Kenya’s general elections in 2013 had nothing to do with card readers, as the country used computer poll books for accreditation. The challenge was rather with the electronic system used in transmitting results, and not card readers.