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New amendment empowers INEC to use electronic voting machines – Senate

The Senate said its recent committal proceedings carried out on the 2010 Electoral Act (amendments) Bill 2021 would enable the Independent National Electoral Commission to make use of electronic voting machines whenever it had the capacity to do so.

The spokesperson for the red chamber, who is also a member of the Conference Committee on the Electoral Act, Senator Ajibola Basiru, stated this while giving explanations on the latest action of the Senate on the proposed legislation.

He said the amended Section 43 of the Act sought to introduce electronic voting machines as one of the materials that an agent of a party would be entitled to inspect.

Basiru said, “The section also empowers INEC to provide, whenever they have the competence to do so, electronic voting machines for elections.

“The amendment to Section 43(2) relates to two subsections. For instance, Section 43(1) now reads that the commission (INEC) shall provide suitable boxes, electronic voting machines or any other voting device for the conduct of elections.

“This will allow INEC, when they have the necessary wherewithal and competence, without approaching the National Assembly, to introduce electronic voting machines as part of the materials they will use for elections.

“It is hoped that this will strengthen the commission and avoid a situation that happened in the case of Nyesom Wike and Dakuku Peterside, whereby the Supreme Court did not agree that card reader was part of the requirements of the Electoral Act.”

Basiru added that the amendments done to Section 43 (3) would enable party agents to have access to electronic voting machines and other voting devices from the office to the poling units.

He stated, “The agents, by the latest provision, will be able to inspect and see the electronic voting machines before the election.

“We introduce the new amendments so that people won’t say that the electronic materials are too generic and that they do not include electronic voting machines.

“INEC must allow polling agents to inspect all election materials before deploying them in polling units.

“We believe that the action will strengthen transparency and allow oversight by political party agents at polling units.”

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