FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE ELECTORAL PROCESS
Next Election: Presidential and National Assembly 25th February 2023
Independent National Electoral Commission.
The Commission was established on 5th August, 1998 by Decree No. 17 of that year by the Federal Military Government.
Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
State Independent Electoral Commission. Each State established a SIEC to conduct its Local Government elections while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducts the Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Each State Independent Electoral Commission operates independently.
Election Management Body. (This is the body that conducts elections).
There are thirty seven (37) EMBs in Nigeria; i.e. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and thirty six (36) States Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs).
It is “to serve as an independent and effective Election Management Body (EMB) committed to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections for sustainable democracy in Nigeria”.
It is “to be one of the best Election Management Bodies in the world that meets the aspirations of the Nigerian people”.
The values of the Commission are as Follows:
i. Autonomy: INEC shall carry out all it’s functions independently, free from external control and influence.
ii. Transparency: INEC shall display openness and transparency in all its activities and in its relationship with all stakeholders.
iii. Integrity: INEC shall maintain truthfulness and honesty in all its dealings at all times.
iv. Credibility: INEC shall ensure that no action or activity is taken in support of any candidate or political party.
v. Impartiality: INEC shall ensure the creation of a level playing field for all political actors.
vi. Dedication. INEC shall be committed to providing quality electoral services efficiently and effectively, guided by best international practices and standards.
vii. Equity: INEC shall ensure fairness and justice in dealing with all stakeholders.
viii. Excellence: INEC shall be committed to the promotion of merit and professionalism as the basis for all its actions.
ix. Team work: INEC shall create a conducive environment that promotes teamwork among its staff at all levels.
- Conduct elections to elective offices except those of Local Government Areas of the thirty-six (36) States of the Federation;
- Compile and maintain the register of voters and issue Voters’ Cards;
- Conduct any referendum required in line with the 1999 Constitution or any other Act of the National Assembly;
- Delimit electoral constituencies;
- Register and de-registers political parties;
- Monitor the organization and operations of all political parties;
- Arrange for annual examination and auditing of the finances of political parties;
- Monitor the campaigns of political parties;
- Carry out recall proceedings where voters can remove an elected representative in the State or National Assembly from office if they are not satisfied with the representative’s performance;
- Provide rules and guidelines for its operations and the operation and conduct of political parties;
- Promote knowledge of sound democratic processes;
- Conduct voter and civic education;
- Ensure that all Electoral Commissioners, Electoral and Returning Officers take and subscribe to oaths of office prescribed by law; delegate any of its powers to any Resident Electoral Commissioner; and carry out such other functions as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly;
- Train electoral personnel, electoral research and documentation;
- Provide technical assistance to SIECs.
The Commission is made up of thirteen (13) members: the Chairman and twelve (12) National Commissioners.
The current members of the Commission are:
i. Prof. Mahmood Yakubu – Chairman
ii. Mrs Amina Bala Zakari – Member
iii. Prof. Antonia T. Okoosi-Simbine – ”
iv. Dr. Mohammed M. Lecky – ”
v. Alh. Baba Shettima Arfo – ”
vi. Prince Adedeji S. Soyebi – ”
vii. Mr. Mohammed K. Haruna – ”
viii. Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola – ”
ix. Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu – ”
x. Engr. Abubakar A. Nahuche – ”
xi. Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu – ”
xii. AVM Ahmad Muazu (Rtd) – ”
xiii. Festus Okoye Esq. – “
The members of the Commission are appointed by the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria following due consultation with the Council of States and confirmation by the Senate for a specified tenure of five (5) years from the date of appointment.
Yes. As stipulated in Section 157(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the INEC Chairman and the Commissioners can be removed from office by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he/she be so removed for the following reason(s):
- Inability to discharge the functions of the office;
The Chairman of INEC is the Chairman of the Commission and the Chief Electoral Commissioner of the Federation responsible for the collation and declaration of result in the presidential election.
The Chairman of INEC. He collates, announces the scores of candidates and declares the winner in a presidential election.
Resident Electoral Commissioner. He/she is in charge of the affairs of the Commission in the State he/she is posted to.
There are thirty seven (37) Resident Electoral Commissioners (one per State and the FCT).
INEC Headquarters is located at Plot 436, Zambezi Crescent, Maitama District, Abuja and have offices in the 36 State capitals and the FCT as well as in the Headquarters of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the Federation and the six (6) Area Councils of the FCT.
The Secretary, appointed by the Commission heads the Secretariat while Directors head the Departments and Directorates at the Headquarters. The composition also consists of Administrative Secretaries at States and FCT Offices as well as directing staff and other categories of staff. The HODs head the departments at the States and FCT while the Electoral Officers (EOs) head the LGA Offices and are assisted by Assistant Electoral Officers (AEOs).
The Electoral Officer (EO).
The Electoral Institute (TEI) headed by a Director-General who is assisted by an Administrative Secretary is an organ of the Independent National Electoral Commission responsible for:
- Training of permanent and ad-hoc staff for elections;
- Facilitating capacity building and professionalism of the Commission’s staff through training and manpower development;
- Carrying out electoral research and documentation.
The institute was set up in June, 2005.
The TEI is located at the Central Business District, Abuja.
i. Serving NYSC Members;
ii. Ex-NYSC Members (if there are not enough NYSC Members);
iii. Students of Federal Tertiary Institution (where there are not enough NYSC Members);
iv. Staff of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs);
v. Federal University Vice Chancellors and Lecturers.
State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) conduct local government elections in the 36 States while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducts the area council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
No. Each of the State Independent Electoral Commissions operates independently.
Yes, it is aimed at creating platforms for equal access and participation of men and women in the electoral process.
There is a Department in the Commission known as Voter Education, Publicity, Gender and Civil Society Organizations and Liaison (VEP) that deals with issues relating to Women, Youth and People Living with Disabilities (PWDs) to promote their participation in political process.
The Commission uses the following media:
- Advocacy visits;
- Market outreaches;
- Sensitization workshops;
- INEC Citizens Contact Centre.
The acronym EADR stands for Electoral Alternative Dispute Resolution. It is a Directorate in the Commission that provides voluntary means for parties in dispute to engage in constructive, interest-based discussions and processes in settling their disputes as opposed to litigation.
Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security.
The followings are the roles of ICCES:
I. Coordinates the design of an election security management for INEC;
II. Develops locally focused plans for providing security before, during and after elections
III. Harmonizes the training , deployment and action of security personnel on election duties;
IV. Advises State INEC on rapid response to security threats around elections, including voter registration;
V. Ensures a reduction in transaction costs to INEC of dealing with individual security agencies on issues of elections;
VI. Accesses existing security threats across the States that have implication for elections and produces a Red, Amber and Green electoral security map which is regularly updated;
VII. Evaluates the performance of security agencies on election duties and recommends improvements and sanctions, where necessary.
The followings make up the membership of ICCES:
i. The Hon. Chairman and National Commissioners, (INEC)
ii. The Secretary, INEC
iii. Inspector-General of Police
iv. The Deputy Commissioner of Police
v. The Comptroller General, Fed. Fire Service
vi. The Director General, NYSC
vii. The Director General, SSS
viii. The Chairman/Chief Executive, NDLEA
ix. The Hon Minister, Fed. Min. of Interior
x. The Chief of Naval Staff
xi. The Chief of Air Staff
xii. The Chief of Army Staff
xiii. The Chief Defence Intelligence Agency
xiv. The Commandant General, NSCDC
xv. The Comptroller General, Nig. Customs Services
xvi. The Corps Marshal, FRSC
xvii. The Comptroller General, Nig. Immigration Serv.
xviii. The Comptroller General, Nig. Prisons Services
xix. The Director-General, NIA
xx. The Hon. Minister, Min. of Police Affairs
xxi. The Chairman, Police Service Commission
National Inter-Agency Advisory Committee on Voter Education and Publicity and NICVEP exists at the National, States and LGAs.
The Membership of NICVEP at the various levels is drawn from the following organisations:
i. Independent National Electoral Commission
ii. National Orientation Agency
iii. Federal Ministry of Information
iv. Federal Ministry of Women Affairs
v. Federal Ministry of Communications
vi. Federal Ministry of Education
vii. National Broadcasting Commission
viii. Nigerian Communication Commission
ix. Nigerian Television Authority
x. Federal Radio Corp. of Nigeria
xi. News Agency of Nigeria
xii. Guild of Editors
xiii. Nigerian Labour Congress
xiv. Nigerian Union of Journalists
xv. Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Dev.
i. INEC with REC as Chairperson
ii. State Ministry of Information
iii. State Ministry of Women Affairs
iv. National Orientation Agency
v. State Broadcasting Corporations (Radio/TV)
vi. Other relevant Agencies.
i. INEC with Electoral Officer as Chairperson
ii. Chief Mobilisation Officer, NOA
iii. Local Govt. Information Officer
The objectives of NICVEP are as follows:
I. To ensure interagency cooperation in voter education;
II. To promote public/private partnership on voter education;
III. To ensure proper coordination and monitoring of voter education messages and materials;
IV. To mainstream gender and disability issues in voter education.
Yes. INEC collaborates with the following groups on voter education:
I. Political parties;
II. Development Partners (IFES, UNDP/DGD, IRI, AU, EU, IDEA, etc);
III. NICVEP Members;
IV. Traditional rulers;
V. Religious leaders;
VI. INEC Ambassadors;
VIII. Other stakeholders
The Commission organizes stakeholders’ meetings and seminars to sensitise members on the various aspects of the electoral process, i.e. procedure as well as other information necessary to enable them take necessary steps as well as make informed choices such as; What is the event? When it is taking place? Who is to participate? Why the need for participation? Where is it taking place as well as how to participate?
i. Visit any of INEC Offices nationwide;
ii. Enquiries from ICCC;
iii. From the website : www.inecnigeria.org;
iv. Apply for Certified True Copy (CTC);
v. Apply under the Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act.
INEC engages the public directly through INEC Citizens Contact Centre (ICCC) to enhance transparency and participation in the electoral process. The centre offers the public constant access to the Commission with enquiries and exchange of information:
i. Covers all Commission’s events and upload in real time on all social media platforms;
ii. Surf the internet daily to pick out content relating to INEC for necessary action;
iii. Take complaint from citizens and also provide feedback via the Commission’s hotlines and social media platforms;
iv. Send INEC’s Notices, Statements, Clarifications, rebuttals on the website and all social media platforms;
v. Compliment the situation room staff during elections;
vi. Online voter education on INEC social media platforms.
The Commission uses the following media/tools:
I. Advocacy visits;
II. Market outreaches;
III. Sensitization workshops;
IV. Mass Media(Posters, Leaflets/Flyers, INEC Bulletin, Electoral Magazine, Jingles etc);
V. Road Shows;
VI. Stakeholders Forums;
VII. Information Kit on various elections;
VIII. INEC Website;
X. Press conferences and press releases;
XII. Community Theatre/Dance
A political association is an organization or association of persons seeking registration as a political party.
A Political Party is a legally registered association by INEC, which is entitled to canvass for votes and sponsor candidates to contest for elections.
A manifesto is a written document that contains what the party stands for, how it intends to govern if it wins an election and how it intends to improve the welfare of the people.
A political party can be identified by its name, logo or symbol.
No. Section 82, sub-section (4), paragraphs (a-d) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, forbids the use of the Coat of Arms or photograph of a person living or dead.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Commission is empowered to register Political Parties if they meet the following conditions:
I. The names and addresses of its national officers must be registered with INEC;
II. Its governing body must have members from at least two thirds of Nigeria (ie from at least 24 states).
III. Every citizen of Nigeria must be free to join the association irrespective of place of origin, birth, ethnicity, sex or religion;
IV. Provision of the minutes of the meeting of members of its National Executive Committee indicating approval and adoption of the name, constitution, manifesto and symbol/logo of the proposed political party;
V. A copy of its Constitution must be registered with the Commission;
VI. The name and symbol or logo of the association must not contain any ethnic or religious representation/idea;
VII. The headquarters of the association must be situated in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;
VIII. Its constitution must stipulate holding of regular elections for its executive and governing bodies.
For an association to be registered as a political party, it must meet the following conditions:
- The names and addresses of its national officers must be registered with INEC;
- Every citizen of Nigeria must be free to join the association irrespective of place of origin, birth, ethnicity, sex or religion;
- Provision of the minutes of the meeting of members of its National Executive Committee indicating approval and adoption of the name, constitution, manifesto and symbol/logo of the proposed political party;
- A copy of its Constitution must be registered with the Commission;
- The name and symbol or logo of the association must not contain any ethnic or religious representation/idea;
- The headquarters of the association must be situated in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;
- It must hold regular elections for its executive and governing bodies.
At any time, but if it wishes to participate in a General Election it must submit its application not later than six (6) months before the General Elections.
A manifesto is a written document that contains what the party stands for, how it intends to govern if it wins an election and how it intends to improve the welfare of the people.
There are 91 registered Political Parties in Nigeria as at 1st January, 2019.
The names and acronyms of the registered Political Parties as at 1st January, 2019 are:
1. Accord – A
2. Action Alliance – AA
3. African Action Congress – AAC
4. Advanced Allied Party – AAP
5. All Blending Party – ABP
6. Advanced Congress of Democrats – ACD
7. Allied Congress Party of Nigeria – ACPN
8. Alliance for Democracy – AD
9. African Democratic Congress – ADC
10. Action Democratic Party – ADP
11. All Grassroots Alliance – AGA
12. All Grand Alliance Party – AGAP
13. Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party – ANDP
14. Alliance for New Nigeria – ANN
15. Alliance National Party – ANP
16. Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party – ANRP
17. African Peoples Alliance – APA
18. All Progressives Congress – APC
19. Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance- APDA
20. All Progressives Grand Alliance – APGA
21. Allied People’s Movement – APM
22. Alternative Party of Nigeria – APN
23. African People’s Party – APP
24. Alliance of Social Democrats – ASD
25. Alliance for a United Nigeria – AUN
26. Better Nigeria Progressive Party – BNPP
27. Change Advocacy Party – CAP
28. Coalition for Change – CC
29. Change Nigeria Party – CNP
30. Congress of Patriots – COP
31. Democratic Alternative – DA
32. Democratic People’s Congress – DPC
33. Democratic People’s Party – DPP
34. Fresh Democratic Party – FDP
35. Freedom and Justice Party – FJP
36. Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria- GDPN
37. Green Party of Nigeria – GPN
38. Hope Democratic Party – HDP
39. Independent Democrats – ID
40. Justice Must Prevail Party – JMPP
41. Kowa Party – KP
42. Liberation Movement – LM
43. Labour Party – LP
44. Legacy Party of Nigeria – LPN
45. Mass Action Joint Alliance – MAJA
46. Modern Democratic Party – MDP
47. Masses Movement of Nigeria – MMN
48. Mega Progressive Peoples Party – MPPP
49. Movement for Restoration and Defence
Of Democracy – MRDD
50. National Action Council – NAC
51. Nigeria Community Movement Party – NCMP
52. National Conscience Party – NCP
53. Nigeria Democratic Congress Party – NDCP
54. National Democratic Liberty Party – NDLP
55. Nigeria Elements Progressive Party – NEPP
56. Nigeria For Democracy – NFD
57. New Generation Party of Nigeria – NGP
58. National Interest Party – NIP
59. New Nigeria Peoples Party – NNPP
60. Nigeria People’s Congress – NPC
61. New Progressive Movement – NPM
62. National Rescue Movement – NRM
63. National Unity Party – NUP
64. Peoples Coalition Party – PCP
65. People for Democratic Change – PDC
66. Peoples Democratic Movement – PDM
67. Peoples Democratic Party – PDP
68. Progressive People’s Alliance – PPA
69. Providence People’s Congress – PPC
70. Peoples Party of Nigeria – PPN
71. Peoples Progressive Party – PPP
72. Peoples Redemption Party – PRP
73. People’s Trust – PT
74. Reform and Advancement Party – RAP
75. Re-build Nigeria Party – RBNP
76. Restoration Party of Nigeria – RP
77. Social Democratic Party – SDP
78. Save Nigeria Congress – SNC
79. Sustainable National Party – SNP
80. Socialist Party of Nigeria – SPN
81. United Democratic Party – UDP
82. United Patriots – UP
83. United Peoples Congress – UPC
84. Unity Party Of Nigeria – UPN
85. United Progressive Party – UPP
86. We The People of Nigeria – WTPN
87. Young Democratic Party – YDP
88. Yes Electorates Solidarity – YES
89. Youth Party – YP
90. Young Progressive Party – YPP
91. Zenith Labour Party – ZLP
The roles of political parties are as follows:
- Formulating policy and vision of the party for the country;
- Promoting parties’ ideals/ideology;
- Enlightening and mobilizing its members/supporters to register and or vote;
- Defending the interests of its members and its ideals;
- Selecting and sponsoring candidates for elective posts;
- Conducting election campaigns;
- Monitoring the performance of their elected representatives;
- Mediating the relationship between citizens and their government;
- Providing channels through which people hold their elected party officials accountable for their actions in government.
Yes. With the amendment to the constitution, (new section 225A), an existing Political Party can be de-registered on the ground of breach of any of the requirements for its registration or failure to win 25% of votes cast in 1 state of the federation in a Presidential Election or 25% (Governorship election), 25% in Ward (Chairmanship election), or one seat in the National or State Houses of Assembly election.
Local Government Area.
Seven hundred and seventy four (774) LGAs.
A party congress is a gathering where a political party elects candidates for elections or elects its State, LGA and Ward party officials.
A political party primary is a process of electing candidates who will represent the party in an election.
To enable them to democratically elect candidates who will represent the political parties at the various elective posts during elections.
A convention is a gathering where a political party:
- Elects its national officers and/or the presidential candidate for the party;
- Amends the party’s constitution when necessary;
- Reviews, ratifies, overturns or alter any decision taken by any of its constituent bodies, units or officials of the party; and
- Appoints external auditors to audit the party’s account;
- Resolve disputes;
- Establish any Committee to deal with specific issues;
- Takes decisions on the running or future direction of the party.
No, they cannot. Only registered Political Parties can do so. The Nigerian Constitution prohibits any group or association that is not a political party from sponsoring candidates, campaigning or canvassing for votes.
Yes. Membership of a Political Party is open to all adult citizens of Nigeria whether, male or female.
Yes. A woman is free to vie for any elective post provided she meets the required qualifications.
Yes. INEC regulates the amount an individual can contribute to a political party. No political party shall accept any monetary or other contribution of a value more than N1,000,000 (One Million Naira) unless it can identify the source of the money or contribution to the Commission.
No. Corporate bodies are not permitted by law to contribute money to political parties or candidates.
Yes. According to the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, no individual shall donate more than N1,000,000 (One Million Naira) to any candidate.
Yes. Section 91(2) – (7) of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended, provides that:
I. A presidential candidate can spend a maximum amount of N1,000,000,000 (One Billion Naira);
II. A governorship candidate can spend a maximum amount of N200,000,000 (Two hundred Million Naira);
III. A senatorial candidate can spend a maximum amount of N40,000,000 (Forty Million Naira);
IV. A House of Representative candidate can spend maximum amount of N20,000,000 (Twenty Million Naira);
V. For State Assembly election, a candidate can spend a maximum of N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira);
VI. Chairmanship election to an Area Council, the maximum a candidate can spend is N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira);
VII. A Councillorship candidate can spend a maximum amount of N1,000,000 (One Million Naira).
No. It is an offence to use private security during campaigns. It is the duty of the Commissioner of Police of a state to provide security. A Political Party must notify the police ahead of such rallies.
No. It is an offence to do so.
No. Only decent language, devoid of abusive words is allowed during campaigns.
Political Parties are only permitted to commence campaigns in public ninety (90) days before election and end twenty-four (24) hours to the election.
Only candidates or political parties can campaign in an election.
No. The Electoral Act, 2010 as amended and the 1999 Constitution do not provide for Independent Candidates. You must be a member of a Political Party and be sponsored by that party to be eligible to contest any election.
Nomination is a part of the process of selecting a candidate for elective post by political parties.
The list of nominated candidates for election should be submitted to the Elections and Party Monitoring Department at INEC Headquarters for clearance within a stipulated period.
Yes. Political Parties must submit their lists of candidates to INEC sixty (60) days before the date of any election.
No. Only political parties are permitted by law to submit lists of candidates to INEC.
No. INEC cannot refuse to accept a party’s list submitted within the stipulated time neither can it disqualify any candidate. According to Section 31(1)(6) of Electoral Act 2010 as amended, only a court of law can disqualify a candidate.
This is an intra – party affair. The candidate can present his complaint to his party in writing and copy INEC (for its information). He may apply for the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the result of the primaries from the Commission as evidence. If the party fails to resolve the issue internally, the candidate can go to court to seek redress.
Yes. However, a candidate can only be changed or substituted in case of death of, or withdrawal by the candidate.
A candidate can only be changed or substituted in case of death of the candidate or voluntary withdrawal by the candidate within a stipulated time (currently, not later than 45 days to the election).
It is an offence punishable by law to deny any candidate or party access to the media. If such happens, the candidate should notify INEC and the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, (NBC) stating the media house involved for further action.
His political party is entitled to send the name of another nominee to the Commission within the stipulated time (i.e. 45 days before the selection).
However, if after the time for submission of nomination and before the commencement of the poll, a nominated candidate dies, the Commission shall stop the poll in which the deceased candidate was to participate and shall appoint some other convenient day for the election.
The time for nomination will be extended by seven (7) days and if after the extension, only one candidate remains duly nominated, he/she shall be declared unopposed and elected in the case of legislative positions while for executive positions, i.e. Chairman of Area Council, Governorship or Presidential nomination the law requires that a poll be held where the electorate vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ (for or against).
Voter Registration is the process of recording and compiling details such as names, age, fingerprints, address and photographs of people eligible to vote into the register of voters.
Biometric voter registration is the capturing of voters’ unique personal/physical details, i.e. name, address, fingerprints and photograph and thereafter, issuing a voter’s card to the registrant.
Continuous Voter Registration.
Permanent Voter’s Card.
INEC designated centre nearest to his/her LGA during the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise.
A person shall be qualified to be registered as a voter if he/she:
- is a citizen of Nigeria;
- has attained the age of eighteen (18) years;
- is ordinarily resident, work in, originate from the LGA, council, ward covered by the registration centre;
- presents himself to the registration officers of the Commission for registration as a voter;
- is not subject to any incapacity to vote under any law in Nigeria.
An individual can register only once and only at one centre.
No. It is an offence to carry out registration at a centre or place not designated by INEC.
Yes. Every Nigerian Citizen, 18 years and above, including people living with any form of disability is entitled to be registered.
No. Each person intending to register as a voter must appear in person before registration officials at designated centres. There is no registration by proxy.
According to law, registration of voters and the update or review of the voters’ lists must stop at least thirty (30) days before any election and the register to be used for the election must be certified.
I: You should check for your name during the display of voters’ register.
II: Check the INEC website, i.e. www.inecnigeria.org
III: You can check by sending a text message to this number, 08171646879. Text Format: State (space) last name (space) last five digits of your VIN. Example: Abia Chukwudi 54321.
The PVC stores information such as biometric data i.e. name, age and photograph, thumbprint, etc. It protects the information stored in the card. The information on the PVCs are electronically programmed and can only be read /assessed electronically with a card reader.
I. Adults who are eighteen (18) years and above, who are ordinarily resident, work in, originate from the Local Government Area Council or Ward covered by the registration centre and have not registered before;
II. Those who had registered but whose names are not found in the biometric Register of Voters during the display of the register/distribution of PVCs; and
III. Those who have just turned eighteen (18) years.
You need not bring anything but the Registering Officer may ask for any of the following:
- Birth or baptismal certificate;
- National Identity Card;
- International Passport;
- Driver’s license;
- Any other document that could prove the identity, age and nationality of the applicant.
N.B. These may be required if the Registration Officer is not sure if the applicant is of age.
You need to present your Temporary Voter’s Card to the INEC Officials in order to collect your PVC.
Verify your name on the distribution list during the distribution of PVC or at your INEC LGA Office. If your name is on the register, you will be required to fill an attestation form to enable you collect your PVC.
You will be required to fill an incident form and if you are cleared by the officials, you will be issued with the PVC.
No. It is an offence to prevent any eligible registrant from registering.
Preliminary Register of Voters. It is a register that contains the names and other details of registrants who have just been registered.
It is a process of making the register available to the public (exhibition) for necessary correction (claims and objections).
A claim is a process of alerting the Commission during the display of the Register that the name of a person who had registered to vote has been omitted from the register, is not properly spelt or any other particular is incorrect (e.g. gender or address);
Objection is to disagree with the Commission on the inclusion in the PRV of the name of a person on the ground that he/she is not qualified or entitled to be registered or is dead.
The person should write to the Commission within the stipulated period stating the complaint and requesting necessary correction to be made.
A copy of the PRV is displayed to enable the public study (scrutinize) the register during which any objection or complaint in relation to the names omitted or included in the voters’ register or any necessary correction is raised or filed.
Between Five (5), to fourteen (14) days.
No. You can only have one valid voter’s card at a time as it is an offence to have more than one card. (Section 15 sub-section 2 of the Electoral Act as amended). During transfer or replacement of damaged voter’s card, the old one will be retrieved from you before a new one is issued. A voter whose card is lost or damaged will be issued a voter’s card with DUPLICATE written on it.
The person should apply to the Electoral Officer of his/her LGA/Area Council for a replacement of the lost/damaged voter’s card. This must be done not later than sixty (60) days before the election.
Relocation to another constituency. Where the voter now resides in another constituency/unit and has applied for transfer on time i.e. more than thirty (30) days to the election.
Yes, but subject to approval by Resident Electoral Commissioner of the state.
A voter’s registration can be transferred through the following steps:
Apply to INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner through the Electoral Officer of your LGA/Area Council (your present location where you want to be transferred to) more than 60 days before election.
A photocopy of the applicant’s voter’s card must be attached to the application;
The application should contain the current address of the applicant as this will assist in allocating the Polling Unit nearest to him/her, i.e. Write an application for transfer to the
If the Resident Electoral Commissioner is satisfied that the applicant is currently resident in the area, he/she shall approve the application and direct that the applicant’s details be transferred to his/her new location.
The HOD ICT on receiving the approved application shall:
- Effect the transfer on the server;
- Issue applicant with a Temporary Voter’s Card (TVC) and later print PVC;
- Forward printed PVC to electoral officer for collection.
The Electoral Officer (EO) of the applicant’s LGA on receiving the approval shall:
- Assign the applicant to the nearest Polling Unit to his/her new residence;
- Enter the applicant’s details in the transferred voters’ list;
- Issue the applicant with new PVC while the old one will be retrieved. OR
Go to the online address below for a guide on transfer of registered voters: https://www.inecnigeria.org/voter-education/guide-for-transfer-of-registered-voters/ OR
Call 07098117563, 07098110916.
Usually, it takes about fourteen (14) days. The Electoral Officer will contact the applicant when the process is completed for collection of his/her voter’s card.
No. After the transfer, the name will be deleted from the list of the former constituency. He/she can only vote in his/her new constituency.
No. Unless he/she transfers his/her registration details to his/her state and is issued another voter’s card to that effect. Voters are only permitted by law to vote at polling units where they were registered and their names displayed.
(a) Area Council election in the FCT?
i. One must be a citizen of Nigeria.
ii. One must be registered as a voter.
iii. One must have attained the age of twenty five (25) years for Councillor and thirty (30) years for Chairman/Vice Chairman.
iv. One must be educated to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
v. One must be a member of a political party and be sponsored by it.
(b) Member of House of Assembly?
i. One must be a Nigerian;
ii. One must have attained the age of twenty five (25) years; (new amendment to Section 106 (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended);
iii. One must have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent;
iv. One must be a member of a political party and be sponsored by it.
(c) Member of the National Assembly?
i. One must be a citizen of Nigeria;
ii must have attained the age of thirty (35) years for Senate; and twenty five (25) years for the House of Representatives. (Section 65 (1) (a-b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended);
iii. One must have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent;
iv. One must be a member of a political party and be sponsored by it.
(d) Office of the Governor of a state?
i. One must be a Nigerian by birth;
ii. One must have attained the age of thirty five (35) years (Section 177 (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended);
iii. One must be a member of a political party and be sponsored by it;
iv. One must have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
(e). Office of President?
i. One must be a Nigerian by birth;
ii. One must have attained the age of thirty five (35) years (new amendment to Section 131(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended);
iii. One must have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent;
iv. One must be a member of a political party and be sponsored by that political party.
Yes. A person can be disqualified from contesting election if he/she:
- Is a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State and has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from such employment thirty (30) days before the date of the election;
- has acquired the citizenship of another country;
- has been adjudged to be a lunatic or of unsound mind by any law in force;
- is under a death sentence imposed on him/her by a competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria, or sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud or any other offence;
- is declared an undischarged bankrupt;
- is within the period of less than ten (10) years before the date of the election, has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty;
- is a member of a secret society; or
- Has presented a forged certificate(s) to the Commission.
Recall is a procedure by which voters can remove a member of National Assembly or State House of Assembly in the constituency where he/she registered.
A referendum in a recall is a direct vote that determines the question of whether the constituents wish to recall (remove) an elected member of an Area Council, State or National Assembly.
A member can be recalled by more than one half of the registered voters in his/her constituency presenting a petition to the Chairman of INEC.
The electorate not satisfied with the performance of their representatives can present a petition to the Chairman of INEC for the recall of the representatives. The petition for recall must be signed by more than one half (50% + 1) of the total number registered voters in that constituency.
On receipt of a petition by the Chairman of the Commission for the recall of a member of National or State Assembly signed by more than one half of the total number of persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency alleging their loss of confidence in that member, the Commission shall within ninety (90) days of the receipt of the petition ensure that:
• The petition for recall presented is signed and arranged according to polling units, wards, LGA and constituency;
• The Commission shall cross check that the signatories appear on the voters register;
• The Commission shall notify the member sought to be recalled, stating the fact of the receipt of the petition for his/her recall;
• The Commission shall issue a public notice or announcement stating the date, time and location of verification;
• The Commission shall verify the signatories to the petition at the designated location;
• If more than one half (50% + 1) of the signatories are verified, the Commission goes ahead to conduct a referendum;
The member is recalled when more than half of the voters vote “yes” to recalling the member.
It is to be noted that while the petition should be presented by more than half of the Registered Voters, in a referendum, the yardstick is the majority i.e. more than half of the turnout of voters;
• If the number verified is less than one half of the registered voters in that constituency, the Commission shall write to the petitioners stating that the petition did not meet the minimum requirements and is therefore dismissed.
The Chairman of the Commission is obliged to send the certificate of recall to the Presiding Officer – Senate President or Speaker of the House to effect the recall.
No. In the case of a Governor or President, he/she can only be impeached by two thirds of the members of the House of Assembly and National Assembly respectively.
An Election is a process where people vote for preferred candidates or political parties as representatives in government.
General Elections are elections conducted in electoral constituencies across the country to elect political parties and candidates into executive and legislative positions.
It is an election to replace a Member of the Legislature occasioned by death, resignation, recall or taking up another public office or position.
It is an election conducted when the first election fails to produce a clear winner to be returned for the position of President or Governor. This can happen when the candidate with the highest votes does not have the required vote spread in the State/Federation, i.e. he/she has not scored at least 25% of the valid votes cast in at least 2/3 (two-third) of the LGA of the state (for Governor) or at least 25% of the valid votes cast in at least 2/3 (two-third) of the States of the federation in the case of the President.
An election where the first election was annulled for sundry reason(s) by a competent Electoral Tribunal or Court of Law.
It is an election where the total number of registered voters in a particular constituency is sufficient to cause a change in the outcome due to the postponement of election or cancellation of result(s). It may also arise when no candidate meets the criteria for election or threshold to be returned as winner after the initial ballot.
A Polling Unit is a public place, enclosure, booth or shade recognised by INEC where registered voters cast their votes on Election Day.
The Presiding Officer (PO). He/she oversees a polling unit and conducts election there. He/she is supported by other election officials.
He/she is responsible for the supervision of elections in a cluster of polling units/stations and liaises between the Electoral Officer and a number of Presiding Officers (POs) and Assistant Presiding Officers (APOs) under his/her supervision in all matters affecting the election, especially in the distribution, collection and retrieval of election materials.
Assistant Presiding Officer.
Usually, three APOs work in each polling unit on Election Day i.e. APO I, APO II and APO lll.
APOs work under the supervision of the Presiding Officer. They assist him/her in the conduct of elections in the polling unit posted to.
No. Polling Units cannot be located in private residences or worship places. Rather, Polling Units are located at public places, though it may be in front of such buildings – outside the premises.
A party agent is that person representing a political party or candidate at the polling unit, distribution point or collation centre on Election Day and who is so accredited by INEC for that purpose.
Yes. Election officials shall allow each party to be represented by one agent at a time in polling units and collation centres provided they are accredited by the Commission. To be accredited, the party must submit the names of the agents not later than seven (14) days before the election to INEC.
Only one accredited party agent per political party is allowed at a polling unit on Election Day.
Their responsibilities are:
(i) To represent the interest of their Parties and Candidates to ensure that proper procedure, laws and regulations are complied with;
(ii) To observe the process of collection and distribution of election materials;
(iii) To observe the polling and counting of ballots as well as the collation and declaration of results on behalf of their parties;
(iv) To call the attention of the poll officials to any irregularity;
(v) To sign the result sheet if they so desire;
(vi) To testify in Courts/Tribunals in case of election petitions or litigations.
Yes. A party agent present at a polling unit may demand to have the votes recounted, but only once.
The agent/voter shall call the attention of the officials to any irregularities without interfering with the process and report to his/her party.
To be allowed to vote, you must have your permanent voter’s card (PVC).
The stakeholders in an election are:
All persons, groups or agencies who have interest or stake in the process and include:
II. INEC Officials (Permanent and Ad Hoc Staff) on election duty;
III. Security Agents;
IV. Political parties, their candidates and accredited party agents;
V. The media;
VI. Domestic and International Observers;
VII. Security Agencies;
VIII. Relevant MDAs (National Human Rights Commission, National Orientation Agency, etc);
IX. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs);
X. Traditional Rulers;
XI. Religious Leaders;
XII. Women Group;
XIII. Development Partners;
XIV. International/Regional Groups (AU, UN, ECOWAS);
XV. International Community;
XVI. Ordinary Citizens;
XVII. Nigerians abroad
No. No voter shall vote for more than one candidate or record more than one vote in favour of any candidate at any election.
Election Observers are persons appointed by their respective organizations and accredited by INEC to observe the entire election process (distribution of election materials, accreditation process, voting, sorting and counting of ballots, collation of results and declaration of results) or any part thereof. There are two types of election observers i.e. Domestic and International Observers.
Election monitors are officials of INEC deployed by the Commission to oversee the conduct of elections.
No. Observers are not permitted to interfere with the conduct of elections.
They are only permitted to observe the process and to call the attention of officials to any irregularity without interfering with the process.
No. It is unlawful for election observers to handle election materials.
No. Election observers are not allowed to wear the badge or symbol of any political party. Observers shall comply with lawful directives issued by, or under the authority of INEC or its officials, including a directive to leave the Polling Unit or the Collation Centre if required to do so.
Yes, provided he/she is appointed by an organization and accredited by the Commission.
Yes. Election monitors are staff of the Commission and can interfere with the process of the conduct of elections, when it is noticed that poll officials are not adhering to the approved procedures.
Yes, but only accredited Journalists are permitted into the Polling Units on Election Day on the condition that they do not disrupt polling. They have important role in reporting on the conduct of elections.
No. Journalists are not permitted to interfere with the election process.
Yes. Persons living with any form of disability are usually given preference at the polling unit on Election Day.
It is a plastic device that can be fixed on a ballot paper to enable the visually impaired mark their ballot paper unaided.
Accreditation, Voting, Sorting of ballots, Counting, Announcing the votes scored by each party, Collation and Declaration of result.
This is as announced by INEC before the election. It usually starts by 8.00 am and closes at 2.00pm. However, voters on the queue on or before 2.00pm shall be accredited to vote.
Accreditation is the process of identifying voters who are qualified to vote.
(i) To check unauthorized and multiple voting;
(ii) To stop impersonation as only the owners of voter’s card can vote;
(iii) To ascertain if the voter has previously voted in the election;
(iv) To ensure that only those who are registered in that unit actually vote there.
• The voters queue up in an orderly manner;
• The Poll Officials use the Smart Card Reader to read (verify and authenticate) the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) presented by a voter seeking to be accredited to confirm that his/her name is in the register of voters in that unit and that he/she is the rightful owner of the card;
• The officials then cross check the name in the register and tick on the left side of the register after the confirmation;
• Indelible ink is applied on the appropriate finger of the voter’s left hand;
• If the voter’s fingerprint is not authenticated, the voter may still be accredited if the Presiding Officer is satisfied that his/her name is in the register and that he/she is the rightful owner of the card.
Yes. All persons who intend to vote in any election must be accredited before voting.
No. This procedure is simple and time-saving, once people are orderly.
Yes. Where culture does not allow men and women to mix up in a queue, separate queues are formed for men and women.
No. Accreditation or Voting by proxy is not allowed. You must be physically present at the polling unit before you can be accredited or vote.
In order to cast your vote, you are advised to stay within the polling unit before voting starts. If you decide to leave, ensure you return to the polling unit before the commencement of voting at 1.30pm. Once voters queue up and the number is recorded, no voter, accredited or not, will be allowed to join the queue.
Yes, but only if you are already on the queue as at the closing time for accreditation. Any voter who comes after close of accreditation/voting (which is presently 2.00pm) will not be allowed to vote.
Yes. The poll officials will apply indelible ink at the appropriate finger of your left hand for accreditation.
It is an electronic device used to verify the biometrics and photograph of a voter during accreditation.
Yes, the card reader be used in the forthcoming General Elections
It stores the voters’ information such as physical attributes, thumb prints etc; it protects information stored in the card. The information on the voter’s card is electronically programmed and can only be read/accessed electronically with the card reader.
Each person wishing to vote must:
(i) Have been registered at the polling unit where he/she intends to cast his/her vote;
(ii) Have his/her Permanent Voter’s Card;
(iii) Present himself/herself to the Presiding Officer at the polling unit;
(iv) The person’s name must be in register of voters of that polling unit.
Appear in person at the unit where you registered at the stipulated time – presently between 8.00am and 2.00pm with your permanent voter’s card;
a. Accreditation/voting commences at 8.00am. Voters are expected to queue up in an orderly manner;
b. Card reader is used to verify PVC presented by a voter and authenticate voter’s fingerprints.
c. The voter is issued with ballot paper(s) and directed to a cubicle to make his/her choice by thumb/finger printing against their preferred party/candidate on the ballot paper in secret, and thereafter, roll the ballot paper inwardly with the printed side inwards and flatten before dropping it into the ballot box in the full view of all present;
d. Where the voter’s PVC is read but his/her fingerprint is not authenticated, he/she is requested to thumbprint the appropriate box in the Register of Voter and write his/her phone number in the rectangular space provided in the register. He/she is allowed to continue with the accreditation/voting process.
e. Accreditation and voting close at 2.00 pm. A Security Personnel is required to stand behind the last person on the queue to prevent any other person joining. However, everyone on the queue as at 2.00 pm shall be attended to.
f. When the last voter on the queue has voted, the ballots are sorted, counted and the votes scored by each contesting party/candidate as well as the rejected/spoilt ballots are announced and filled into the result sheet;
g. The result is also entered into form EC 60E and pasted at the polling unit;
h. The results from the Polling Units are taken to the Registration Area for summation.
Indelible ink shall be applied on his corresponding toe.
The indelible ink is applied on the corresponding toe of the person brought from home by the voter to assist him or her.
Yes. A voter who is blind or unable to distinguish symbols is entitled to be accompanied into the polling unit and assisted to vote by a person chosen by him/her.
Re-Modified Open Secret Ballot System.
It is a system in which the voter thumbprint/fingerprints or makes his/her choice on the ballot paper in secret and drops it in the ballot box (casts his vote) in the full view of all present.
A rejected ballot is a ballot where the choice of the voter is not clear e.g. if the thumbprint is between two parties’ symbols, is not in a box near any party or the ballot paper is not thumb printed at all. Such ballot will be rejected and not counted for any party or candidate.
It is a ballot paper that is issued to a voter whose right to vote has been used by another person. After marking, the tendered ballot is delivered to the Presiding Officer and not allowed to be put inside the ballot box
No. You cannot vote unless you produce a permanent voter’s card. If yours is missing, then apply for a replacement from the Resident Electoral Commissioner/Electoral Officer of your State/LGA not later than sixty (60) days before election.
No. You can only use a valid permanent voter’s card to vote.
No. Your choice should be known to you only.
Yes. The Presiding Officer must do so before issuance. Failure by a Presiding Officer to stamp, sign and date the back of any ballot paper renders it invalid. Anyone not so stamped, signed and dated will not be counted as valid.
No. Where a voter makes any writing or mark on a ballot paper by which he may be identified, such ballot shall be rejected.
No. Once the voters on the queue have been counted and recorded, he/she will not be allowed to join the queue to vote.
Yes. Poll officials can commence the election process even when no party agents are present in the polling unit.
The result of the election in that unit will be cancelled.
Yes. But he/she must be orderly and well behaved; otherwise he/she could be ejected by security agents. The law prohibits loitering and other disruptive activities within three hundred (300) meters radius of the polling unit.
Yes. It is known as form EC8A. All results from polling units must be entered in this form issued by the Commission.
No. Refusal of any party agent to countersign form EC 8A will not invalidate the result of the poll.
The result of an election is declared by an election official known as the Returning Officer (RO) after collating all the results of the Constituency or Senatorial District.
No, only the Returning Officer appointed by INEC is permitted by law to declare the result of an election; though anyone can publish this result as announced.
Return means the declaration by a returning officer of a candidate in an election under the Electoral Act as being the winner of that election.
No. Once results have been announced and return made by the Returning Officer, nobody, not even the Commission can overturn this. Any aggrieved party or candidate can only challenge this in an election tribunal.
(a) A person whose election is questioned was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the election;
(b)That the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act;
(c) That the respondent was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election; or
(d)That the petitioner or its candidate was validly nominated but was unlawfully excluded from the election.
No. It is an offence to do so. Anyone who commits this offence is liable on conviction to a fine of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira only) or imprisonment not less than ten (10) years or both.
No. No voter is allowed to vote more than once in any particular election. If you are caught, you may be fined or sent to jail.
Yes. It is an offence liable to ten (10) years imprisonment on conviction.
It is an offence to register more than once and attracts a fine of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) and imprisonment not exceeding one year on conviction.
It is an offence for a political party to submit to the Commission a name of someone who is not qualified. The political party on conviction is liable to a maximum fine of N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira).
No. The offender is liable to N500, 000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) or twelve (12) months imprisonment, or both.
Any person who is in unlawful possession of any voter’s card, sells, attempts to sell, buys or attempts to buy any voter’s card whether owned by him or not, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both.
No. It is an offence to do so.
Yes. Snatching and destruction of any election material attracts twenty (24) months imprisonment.
Yes. It is an offence to give or collect money to vote. Both the giver and the receiver are liable on conviction.
No. Use of thugs for political activities is an offence. It attracts a fine of N500, 000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) or three (3) years imprisonment, or both.
Yes. Any Political Party that keeps back information regarding their finances and activities from the Independent National Election Commission shall be liable to a fine of N500, 000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only.
No. It is an offence to do so. He/she is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) or imprisonment for twelve (12) months or both.
No. It is an offence punishable on conviction by three (3) years imprisonment without an option of fine.
No. It is an offence with maximum fine of N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) or twelve (12) months imprisonment or both on conviction.
The outcome of an election can only be challenged through an election petition.
It is only a candidate or political party who/which contested an election that can challenge the outcome of that election.
Election results can be challenged in Election Petition Tribunals for Governorship and National and State Assembly elections and the Court of Appeal for a Presidential election
Yes. An election petition shall be filed not later than twenty (21) days after the date of the declaration of the result of the election.
Yes. Within 240 days from the Tribunals to the highest appellate courts.
Note: This period include the sixty days for appeal.
Yes. Appeals from the Court of Appeal for Presidential elections go to the Supreme Court, while those from National and State Assemblies go to the Court of Appeal, which is the final court for these. For petitions arising out of Governorship Elections, further appeals go to the Supreme Court.
INEC Citizens Contact Centre.
It offers the public constant access to the Commission with enquiries and exchange of information.
The Centre is designed to enhance transparency and public participation in the electoral process.
The ICCC can be contacted through the following platforms:
- Facebook; facebook.com/inecnigeria
- Twitter: twitter.com/inecnigeria (@inecnigeria)
- Instagram: @inecnigeria
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.inecnigeria.org
- My INEC APP: (Available in the Google Play Store)
- e-reporter: (Download from Google and Apple Play Store)
- INEC News: www.inecnews.com
- INEC Hotlines: 0700-CALL-INEC (0700-2255-4632)
09050858629, 09050858675, 09050858649, 08180958715, 08180958717, 08180958709, 09025038466, 07086945927, 08120183063, 07062896047, 08105119010, 08146697603
- Office – 2nd floor, ICT Building, INEC HQ, Maitama, Abuja.
It facilitates access to election-related information and knowledge.
It contributes to voter education efforts by reaching out to a large number of voters.
It provides information on how to transfer Registered voters (please refer to the answer to question 90).
If facilitates verification of voters’ status (please refer to the answer to question 73).
For the 2019 General Elections, INEC will use the Smart Card Reader to verify and authenticate every person who turns out to vote. This brochure has important information about the Card Reader and its uses on Election Days. We encourage all to take time to read it carefully – to understand the purpose of the Card Reader and how it will enhance the credibility of elections by deterring electoral malpractices and fraud.
The Card Reader is an electronic device used to accredit voters during elections. It can also be used for eTransmission of Results.
The Card Reader is able to
- Read only PVCs issued by INEC
- Read the embedded chip in the PVC: thus making it impossible to use PVCs not issued by INEC
- Confirm the identity of the voter by cross-matching his/her fingerprints with that stored in the embedded chip. No other person can be accredited to vote using another voter’s PVC.
- Keep a record of all PVCs read, comprising the details of all voters authenticated and those not authenticated.
- Transmit the information of all PVCs presented, whether verification passed or failed to a central INEC server using the Global System Mobile Communication (GSM) data services. The transmitted information will enable:
- INEC to audit accreditation and results from polling units, including demographic statistical details.
- Collation Officers to audit polling unit results and determine whether accreditation figures have been altered.
- Result Transmission
The use of the Card Reader does not violate the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, or the Electoral Act 2010, as amended. The Card Reader is not a voting machine and will not be used for voting. It will be used only for the accreditation of voters. Data and results will be transmitted using it. The introduction of the Card Reader by INEC to accredit voters is one of the innovations introduced to improve the integrity of the electoral process in accordance with international best practices and this has been acknowledged by the Courts.
The Card Reader has the ability to read information of voters form the Permanent Voters Card (PVC). It has Radio frequency identification technology that will enable it to read the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) of each voter from the embedded chip in the PVC to verify the ownership of the card before allowing the voter to be accredited. To prevent fraudulent use, the Card Reader is configured to work only on Election Days. In addition, it is configured to specific polling units and cannot be used in any other Polling Unit with that configuration.
When fully charged the battery life of the Card Reader is about 12 hours of continual usage. The device hibernates when not in use to save and lengthen battery life.
One of the INEC Officials assigned to a polling unit will be responsible to operate the Card Reader during the accreditation of voters.
INEC has broadly subjected the Card Readers to simulation quality assurance, integrity, and functionality performance and conformance test, both locally and abroad. In addition, INEC carried out reasonable level of enhancement on the Card Reader. The Commission has also conducted field tests on the Card Readers in at least two states in each of the six geo-political zones ahead of the elections.
Based on the tests already conducted, it is highly unlikely that the Card Readers will fail. In the event of such an, INEC will deploy a technical team to resolve the challenge. However, in the event of sustained malfunction of the Smart Card Reader, the Presiding Officer (PO) shall:
- Immediately inform the appropriate INEC officials for a replacement.
- Suspend accreditation and Voting until a new Card Reader is made available;
- File a report of the incident; and
- Inform the voters and polling agents of the situation.
NOTE: Where a replacement Smart Card Reader is not available by 2:00pm the P.O shall:
- inform the relevant officials
- file a report of the incident; and
- Inform the voters and polling agents that accreditation and voting for the affected Polling Unit, Voting Point settlement, and Voting Point shall continue the following day.
In the event that the Smart Card Reader fails to authenticate a person’s biometrics, the voter shall be referred to the appropriate officer who shall request the voter:
a. To thumbprint in the appropriate box in the Register of Voters for the PU;
b. Provide his/her phone number in the appropriate box on the Register of Voters; and
c. Thereafter he/she shall be issued with the Tendered Ballot Paper.
Yes, if voters show up within or before the stipulated hours for the election. The accreditation of a voter using the Card Reader is estimated to last 10 to 20 seconds per voter.
INEC will use Card Readers with 12-hour battery life. In addition, INEC has procured additional back-up batteries and trained election officials on the need to properly charge the Card Readers before deploying to the field on Election Days.
To prevent fraudulent use, the Card Reader is configured to work only on Election Days. In addition, the device is configured to specific polling units and cannot be used elsewhere without requiring reconfiguration by authorised INEC personnel.
The challenge with a few of the Card Reader devices in Ghana, for instance, during the country’s 2012 general elections was the battery power, apparently because the affected devices were not fully charged. It was in learning from this experience that INEC designed the Card Readers to be used in the 2015 elections with 12-hour battery life in active usage, and also procured more than 35,000 units of back-up batteries. The imperative of adequate charging of the Card Readers is underscored during the trainings of election personnel.
The supposed technology failures during Kenya’s general elections in 2013 had nothing to do with card readers, as the country used computer poll books for accreditation. The challenge was rather with the electronic system used in transmitting results, and not card readers.