INEC Adopts New Technology for Voter Registration

INEC Adopts New Technology for Voter Registration

…Migrates from Direct Data Capture Machine (DDCM) to INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) …Floats New Online Registration Portal …Rules Out NIN As Mandatory Requirement for Registration The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says it has acquired a new technology which it will introduce for the recommencement of continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise across the country,

…Migrates from Direct Data Capture Machine (DDCM) to INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED)

…Floats New Online Registration Portal

…Rules Out NIN As Mandatory Requirement for Registration

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says it has acquired a new technology which it will introduce for the recommencement of continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise across the country, slated to begin on Monday 28th June 2021. While revealing that it has floated a new online registration portal to ease the process, the Commission also says that the National Identification Number (NIN) is not mandatory for voter registration.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who disclosed this on Thursday, during a press conference in Abuja, stated that the new technology is Android based and that the Commission had been in a process of migrating to the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) from the old Direct Data Capture Machine (DDCM) that had been in use for about 10 years.

He also explained that in order to reduce crowding at registration centres, the Commission has built a new online registration portal that would enable new registrants to commence registration online and subsequently complete the capture of their biometric data at designated registration centres.

The INEC Chairman stated that previously registered voters who wished to transfer their voting locations, apply for replacement of their PVCs or correct their personal information had to appear physically at the registration centres.

Prof Yakubu also stated that all these were part of three cardinal reasons why the CVR exercise could not start earlier.

The first, he said was the establishment of new systems that would ensure safer CVR exercise in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In this regard, the Commission is building a new online registration portal that would enable new registrants to commence registration online and subsequently complete the capture of their biometric data at designated registration centres. This is designed to reduce crowding. Through the online portal, they can schedule their visits to the registration centres to suit their convenience.

“Above all, a CVR Locator is integrated into the new portal which will enable online registrants to locate the nearest registration centre available to them to complete their registration.

“Previously, registered voters who wished to transfer their voting locations, apply for replacement of their PVCs or correct their personal information had to appear physically at the registration centres.

“The development of this portal, which is being done in-house by our engineers, has taken a little more time to complete than the Commission anticipated.

“The second reason is the Commission’s determination to expand voter access to Polling Units.

“You would all recall that recently the Commission embarked on a nationwide engagement with Nigerians in which we raised the fundamental issue of declining voter access to Polling Units across the country.

“The engagement clearly demonstrated that the existing Polling Units are inadequate. They were initially designed to cater for a projected 50 million voters but presently serve over 84 million voters.

“In addition, many of the Polling Units are inaccessible to voters, especially Persons With Disability (PWDs), and are not conducive to implementing the Commission’s election regulations, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are glad that most Nigerians agree with the Commission on this issue, and we have commenced a far-reaching programme of converting Voting Points and Voting Point Settlements into fullfledged Polling Units and relocating poorly situated Polling Units to better locations.

“The Commission needs more time to complete this exercise, so that the new Polling Units will be available for registrants to choose during the CVR exercise.

“Thirdly, the Commission has decided to introduce a new voter registration equipment and technology.

“The present generation of voter registration equipment, which the Commission introduced in 2011, is the Direct Data Capture Machine (DDCM). This is based on a laptop and a series of peripherals connected to it. In addition, it includes large powerpacks to power the laptops in the field.

“While the DDCMs have served the Commission well over the last 10 years, we believe that there are now more compact registration devices that will better serve Nigerians during the CVR exercise.

“The Commission is therefore migrating to the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED), which is based on an Android tablet.

“The procurement of the new devices, the modification of the registration software by our in-house engineers to make it compatible with the Android Operating System, as well as integrating these with the online registration portal require a little more time.

“For instance, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our partners abroad who manufacture the IVED hardware, are not operating at full capacity and the pandemic has also made the supply chain and delivery much slower,” Yakubu said.

The Commission also announced that recruitment and training of the voter enrolment staff will commence on 14th June 2021.

He further stated that effective from Monday 28th June 2021, the CVR exercise will commence nationwide and carried out continuously for over a year until the third quarter of 2022.

While ruling out the National Identification Number (NIN) as mandatory requirement for voter registration, Yakubu said that NIN was only a means of identification for registration as listed in the Electoral Act.

“I want to make this important clarification. NIN is not going to be made mandatory for voter registration.

“This is for a simple reason that we are operating on basis of law establishing INEC.

“Section 10 of the Electoral Act lists identifications to be presented by prospective registrants for the purpose of voter registration to includes birth certificate, national passport, national identify card,” he said.

The INEC chairman said the list also included driver’s licence or any other document that would prove the identity and age of the applicant.

He said that the NIN card was only one of the means of identification provided for, under section 10 sub-section 2 of the Electoral Act.

“We cannot single that out and make it mandatory. All the other requirements are requirements of the law and we must apply the law appropriately.

“If you have your national ID card, we will register you on presentation of the card, but we will not make it a mandatory means of identification for the exercise.

“Since the law, the Electoral Act does not make it mandatory, it is only one of the many means of identification required,” Yakubu said.

The INEC boss explained that with the new innovation, prospective registrants could only apply and go to the nearest registration centre for data capturing to complete the exercise.

Yakubu further said provision had been made for extra registration centres across the country to avoid overcrowding at registration points for those that want to do physical registration.

On COVID-19 pandemic, he said that 1,000 registration centres had been added to the existing 1,446 for the exercise to reach as many people as possible.

He, however, reminded prospective registrants that it was an offence to register more than once, saying, “citizens should register only once.”

 

 

 

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