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2019 elections: INEC gives legal backing to the use card reader, adopts simultaneous accreditation/voting

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Contrary to insinuations that the use of card reader for voters accreditation is illegal following President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to the the 2018 Electoral act amendment bill, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC said it is empowered by extant laws to use the technology for accreditation.

The Commission said it has residual powers under the 2010 Electoral Act ( as amended) to adopt any accreditation and procedure convenient to it hence, the use of card reader in this regard can not be affected by the declined assent to the 2018 electoral act amendment bill.

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman gave this indications Tuesday during the Commission Consultative meeting with Media in Abuja emphasized that the use of smart card readers for accreditation in the 2019 general elections is mandatory and clause 10 of the election guidelines makes it offensive for a concerned election duty staff not to use the device for accreditation.

Yakubu who dismissed insinuations that new polling units, or voting points settlements are being created by INEC said voting points have been increased in Abuja following the 2015 experience while polling units where people have been  completely displaced would be moved to the respective camps  they are staying.

Earlier while presenting the 2019 general elections guidelines, Okechukwu Evans, INEC National Commissioner in charge of Operations announced that in line with the existing electoral act 2010 (as amended), there would be manual transmission of results in this year’s elections.

Evans said the guidelines have introduced, ‘the margin of lead principle’, “where an election is postponed in line with section 26 of the electoral act and it is ascertained that the total number of registered voters in the Polling Units affected by the postponement is less than the margin by which the leading candidate is ahead of the second candidate in the election, indicating that the result of the election will not be affected by the postponement, the returning Officer shall make a return for the question.

” Where the margin of lead between two leading candidates in an election is NOT in excess of the total number of voters registered in Polling Units where elections are not held or voided in line with sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act, the Returning Officer shall decline the to make a return until polls have taken place in the affected Polling Units and the results collated into the relevant forms for declaration and return.

He explained that the simultaneous accreditation and voting pattern experimented in the off season elections will be used for the forthcoming polls.

 

James Kwen, Abuja

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