Group hails INEC’s proposed deployment of new technology for voter accreditation

YIAGA Africa

A civil society organisation, the YIAGA Africa, has lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for “consistently evolving measures to improve the quality and transparency of elections” in the country.

The group’s Director of Programmes, Cynthia Mbamalu, made the remark in a statement in Awka on Thursday.

Ms Mbamalu described the deployment of technology in the nation’s electoral process as an imperative and welcome development.

She spoke against the backdrop of INEC’s plan to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for voter accreditation to enable near real-time viewing of results.

Ms Mbamalu described the system as a multifunctional integrated device that could serve multiple purposes for different activities in the nation’s election value chain.

“The BVAS can serve as the INEC Voter Enrolment Device during voter registration and accreditation on election day, replacing the smart card reader.

“It will also serve as the INEC Results Viewing Device to be used for election results up-load on election day.

“This recent innovation is worthy of commendation, especially because it is designed to ensure full voter authentication on election day.

“Where fingerprint authentication fails, facial authentication will be done. Where both fingerprint and facial authentication fails, the voter will not be allowed to vote,” she said.

Ms Mbamalu said the deployment of the new machine would further guarantee the credibility of the voter accreditation and result management process.

“This will, by extension, also promote transparent elections,” she said.

She said it would significantly reduce or possibly eliminate incidents of multiple voting, Permanent Voter Card buying and selling and theft.

According to her, the machine will go a long way to guarantee the sanctity of the ballot as well as boost citizens’ confidence in the process and encourage citizens’ participation.

“Yiaga Africa looks forward to the BVAS pilot exercise in the Isoko South State Constituency by-election in Delta.

“We urge the commission to document critical lessons from the deployment, make effort to bridge any gap identified and train its ad-hoc staff to build their capacity on how to use the BVAS,” she said.

Ms Mbamalu urged INEC to ensure urgent review and timely release of the manual and guidelines for election ahead of the forthcoming Anambra governorship election.

She also urged the National Assembly to accelerate the passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill to legalise the deployment of technology for accreditation, voting and transmission of election results.

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