The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has insisted that 2023 election votes will be manually counted.
This is a far cry from what many are expecting leading up to next year’s polls, especially after the new Electoral Act was passed into law earlier this year.
Festus Okoye who is INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee who disclosed this said INEC will transmit results from polling units to its result-viewing portal, IReV, as has been done before, but noted that the Electoral Act is clear on how collation is to be done.
Okoye said, “There is a marked difference between the transfer/transmission of results and the collation of results. Section 50(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022 gives the commission the absolute discretion to determine the mode and procedure of voting in an election and the transmission of election results.
“Sections 60 and 62 of the Electoral Act govern post-election procedure and collation of election results. Section 60(1) of the Act provides that the presiding officer shall, after counting the votes at a polling unit, enter the votes scored by each candidate in a form to be prescribed by the commission.
“Section 60(5) of the Act makes it mandatory that the presiding officer shall transfer the results, including total number of accredited voters and the results of the ballot in a manner prescribed by the commission. Thereafter, the presiding officer shall after recording and announcing the results deliver the same along with election materials under security and accompanied by the candidates or their polling agents, where available to such person as may be prescribed by the commission.
“The implication of this is that the collation process of results is still essentially manual, but the collation officer must collate subject to his verification and confirmation that the number of accredited voters stated on the collated result are correct and consistent with the number of accredited voters recorded and transmitted directly from polling units.”
In many countries including African countries like Kenya, election results are electronically collated in real time, making the process faster, mistake-free and also eradicating the possibility of manipulation.