INEC okays e-voting from 2021

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has indicated that Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) will be used for future elections in the country beginning from next year.

INEC said its decision on e-voting is in line with the demands by Nigerians to deepen the use of technology to conduct elections.

The agency has suspended Continuous Registration of Voters (CVR) to prevent the health risks associated with it as a result of COVID-19.

According to the details of the conduct of elections and voting in line with the guidelines for the management of Coronavirus Disease as released yesterday, polling unit layout shall be redesigned with e periodic disinfection of chairs, tables and work areas, as well as adequate ventilation.

The commission also unveiled as part of “Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” uploaded on its website that:

“The Commission recognises the critical role that ICT will play in an electoral process that is being vastly reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the growing demands by Nigerians for the deepening of the use of technology in our elections.”

The commission said it shall “Pilot the use of Electronic Voting Machines at the earliest possible time (not Edo and Ondo), but work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021.”

On the coming elections in Edo and Ondo states, INEC said any voter who does not wear a face mask will be disenfranchised.

It said: “The most immediate challenge that COVID-19 poses to the electoral process is health related. In order to protect voters, election officials and other stakeholders in the electoral process, the Commission shall implement the following: Infrared thermometers will be supplied and used at the Registration Area Collation Centres, the Local Government Area Collation Centres and the State Collation Centres.

“The use of face masks is mandatory for all involved in the election process and must be worn at all election locations.  The Commission shall provide face masks for all election officials.

“Alcohol based hand sanitizers will be provided for election officials at the polling units.  Methylated Spirit and cotton wool will be provided for the disinfection of the Smart Card Readers (SCRs) after the fingerprint of each voter is read.

“The rules of physical distancing shall be enforced at all election activities, including stakeholder engagements, training, queuing at Polling Units, etc.

“All protocols issued by the NCDC, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, State Committees on COVID-19 and other relevant health authorities shall be observed by election officials and all stakeholders.”

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