INEC releases guidelines for 2019 polls
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed the process it will adopt for voting in the 2019 general elections.
A national commissioner of the commission, Festus Okoye, made the disclosure on Wednesday while speaking to journalists at a two-day election workshop at the U.S embassy in Abuja.
Mr Okoye, who is also the Chairman of Information and Voter Education in the commission, spoke on INEC’s expectations from the media as regards coverage of elections and reporting of results.
He said the voting procedure will be in accordance with the Continuous Accreditation and Voting System (CAVS) and only voters with permanent voter’s cards verified by the smart card reader would be allowed to vote.
“Each voter shall cast his/her vote in person at the polling unit that he/she registered and, in the manner, prescribed by the Commission.
“For the purposes of the conduct of elections, the Commission utilizes both permanent and ad-hoc staff. The ad-hoc staff comprises of Presiding Officersn (PO), Assistant Presiding Officers (APO), Supervisors, Collation Officers and Returning Officers.
“The Presiding Officer shall be responsible for regulating the admission of voters to the polling unit and shall exclude all other persons except candidates or their polling agents, election officials, security personnel, accredited observers and any other person who in his opinion has lawful reason to be admitted and attendance Register in Polling Unit booklet will be signed by these categories of election personnel,” he said.
Okoye stated those who will be allowed access to the electoral material distribution centre, polling units, polling stations and collation centres.
These are “the voters (at polling units only), INEC officials on election duty, security personnel, candidates or their accredited party agents, accredited journalists/media and accredited domestic and foreign observers.
“The accreditation process shall comprise Verification by the Smart Card Reader; Checking of the Register of Voters; and inking of the cuticle of the specified finger. Where the voter’s fingerprint is not authenticated after 4 attempts using the SCR, the APOI shall recapture the fingerprint of the voter in the prescribed manner and continue with the accreditation and voting process.
Where the voter authentication fails after recapture, the APO shall refer the voter to the Presiding Officer who shall examine and ascertain if the PVC belongs to the voter and if satisfied, that it belongs to the voter and that the voter has not been previously verified, direct the voter to the APOII for Register check and inking to continue with other accreditation and voting process.”
Okoye also said accredited media organisations and observers will be allowed into the polling units, collation centres and distribution centres.
“However, it is not permissible to violate the secrecy of the vote by attempting to record how a voter is voting or how the voter has voted. Section 125 of the Electoral Act.
“The media are allowed or permitted to record and use the votes scores by each political party as pasted in the Publication of Result Poster EC60(E). The media and accredited observers are not allowed or permitted to make a declaration or announce results of an election as that is legally reserved for the Returning Officer who makes a declaration and a return.
“By section 123(4) of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended) any person who announces or publishes an election result knowing same to be false or which is at variance with the signed certificate of return commits an offence and is liable on conviction to 36 months’ imprisonment,” he said.