2009-06-23-115335_373 - Ahmadu Bello University


Feb 23, 2014 (3 years and 5 months ago)





Suleiman Mohammed

and Amina Bashir

Information Commu
nication Technology Directorate /
Library and Information Science Dept.

Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

GSM: 08028472651

, bamina49@yahoo.com


Since, Nigeria attained her independence in 1960, the
methods and

processes of
managing elections in Nigeria have remained the same. The demise of each
democratic er
a was blamed, among other issues, on failed elections, and disputes over
election result.
The fundamental challenge facing Nigeria’s electoral process is that of
assuring that the voters’ register
is complete
and election results are recorded as cast
and t
abulated accurately. The quality of any election is determined by
the electoral
. It is this that backgrounds and frames any chance of any technology being
used posit
ively to improve the conduct of
Thus, this paper aimed at
addressing new

challenges for Nigeria’s electoral process using automation. The data
for this paper were drawn mainly from documentary sources. This paper concludes
that compilation of an authentic electronic voters’ register is a necessary yardstick for
successful ele
ction and the careful application of e

eliminate election
rigging and give credibility to election that will be acceptable to all concern.

Key words: e
voting, electronic voting machine, elections, electoral process, direct
recording electro
nic voting systems

Being a paper, presented at fourth African Regional conference on sustainable
development, Delta state University, Abraka, Nigeria between June 9 and 10 2010.



Nigeria is a country with a projected population of about 140 m
illion people,
out of which, there are about 60 million registered and eligible voters spread across
120,000 polling centers. Election supervision and manning of the centers require
about 500,000 officials, a greater number of which are temporary or ad

recruited and trained, usually on the eve of the elections. The country has at present 33
political parties and still counting, an unprecedented number of candidates

more than
4000 vied for 1458 seats in the National and States’ Houses of Assembly

alone. The sourcing and procuring of balloting instruments, recruitment and training
of personnel, transportation and movement of men and thousands of tones of election
materials across varied and often difficult terrains, and to all nooks and c
orners of
Nigeria over a relatively short time, makes election exercise in Nigeria one of the
most challenging electoral activities in the world. The other tasks of organizing and
managing other facets of the electoral process up to the election day

stration of
political parties, delimitation of constituencies, registration of voters, conduct of the
elections, collation of votes and declaration of results are no less daunting.

According to Ginsberg (200
), Election is the



allows members

of an organization or community to choose representatives who will hold positions of
authority within it. The most important elections select the leaders of local, state, and
national governments. The chance to decide who will govern at these levels, serv
es as
an opportunity for the public to make choices about the policies, programs, and future
directions of government action. At the same time, elections promote accountability.
The threat of defeat at the polls exerts pressure on those in power to conduct

themselves in a responsible manner and take account of popular interests and wishes
when they make their decisions.

Ozoh (2006) states that the responsibility of election administrators and the
importance of their choice of voting systems go a long way in

determining the conduct
and performance of any election. As election administrators strive to uphold voter
intent, the manner of actual authentication of registered voters, balloting, vote

tabulation, collation and transmission of results is of paramount
concern to any
election administrative body. This body must remain focused on its plan in order not
to flounder. It must appreciate distortive factors that would have an adverse impact on
performance and take steps to annihilate them in our political insti
tutions and

The electoral process

The electoral process includes the selection of candidates, the registration of
voters and the voting procedures. A secure electoral process is important in the
context of good government, human rights and pov
erty elimination. The need for a
secure electoral process cannot be over
emphasized as the absence of this will not
only bring about the possibility of abuse, but the process and the result may be open to
legal challenge. This could undermine the stability

and authority of a newly elected
body or office. It is essential that the rules laid down for the registration and conduct
of political parties are fair and equitable and have the parties’ support. The way this is
handled by the electoral authority will s
end important signals to the electorate about
the likely quality of the rest of the electoral process. A secure electoral process which
naturally paves way for a free and fair election has the potential of opening up new
opportunities for improved democrat
ic process.


Automation as defined by Automation Federation (1995)
s the technique of
making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically reducing the need
for human intervention.

The Electoral Systems

According to Umonbong (20
06) who describe Nigeria Electoral system as a
single member constituency type with competitive multiparty and the first past the
post winner system. The method of voting used in four out of five past elections, that
is, in 1979,1983, 1999, 2003


and 2007
was the Open Ballot System (OSBS) in which the prospective Voter goes
through a process of accreditation, receives a ballot paper from the appropriate poll
official and thereafter makes the confidential thumb impression in favour of the
political party or
candidate of choice in a secret voting compartment before dropping
the ballot in the box positioned in the open, in the full glare of officials, security and
party agents. The modified Open ballot system was adopted in the 1993 elections, in
which voters f
iled behind the party symbol or photograph of the candidate of choice.
Voters were physically counted at the close of polls and the results declared to
officials, security and party agents. Although the method is simple and produced what
many in Nigeria ha
ve often described as the fairest and most peaceful elections in the


Until recently election was a scarce commodity in the political activities of
No thanks to p
rolonged military authoritarian rule use to be the ord
er of the
day. The military had an uninterrupted rule in Nigeria. The military intervened as a
"corrective regime" in Nigerian Politics on 15th January, 1966 presumably to rescue
the country from total collapse. Since that first intervention, Nigeria hardl
y knows any
political stability. Consequently, the Nigeria State became characterized by
continuous change of baton between civilian and military administrations. The
scenario has therefore been that of crisis, bitterness and acrimony, mistrust, civil stri
a civil war, coups and counter
coups, all of which have continued to impact negatively
on the Nation's political life and security. The polity continues to be heated up as a
result of jostling brought about by frenzied scramble for offices and preparat
ion for
future elections. A twilight of civilian rule interrupted between 1979 and 1983. The
military returned to power in December 1983 and continued to rule until the glorious
revolution of 1999. It was that year that democratic governance finally return

Historically, elections have become a major singular problem that threatens the

very foundations of the Nigerian, nation
state. The fundamental challenge facing
Nigeria’s electoral process is that of assuring that voters’ register is complete, votes
e recorded as cast and tabulated accurately. Recording and tabulating the votes
accurately is certainly a challenge in the conduct of elections in Nigeria, but it is not
the "fundamental challenge". The quality of any election is determined by three
. First, is the appropriateness of the overall electoral process;

is the
quality and possibility of all players to follow the electoral law with fidelity. Finally,
there are the practical mechanisms for the conduct of the election

which include:

1. The voters register.

2. Free, fair and credible voting system.

It is this that backgrounds and frames any chance of any technology being used
positively to improve the conduct of elections.

Electoral Commission and Elections in Nigeria

Iyayi (2007)

explain that there is the general belief that election commissions
lie at the heart of the problem of elections in Nigeria. The 1959 Elections were
conducted by the Electoral Commission of Nigeria (ECN). Although the elections led
to the first neo colonia
l civilian government in Nigeria, the controversies surrounding
the outcomes of the elections fed into the controversial 1964 Regional elections in
Western Region, which in turn produced the rationalization for the January, 1965
military coup.

Iyayi furt
her explained that i
n 1979, the legitimacy of the election results was
tainted by controversy over the twelve two thirds dilemma. This controversy was itself
heightened by allegations that the military hierarchy wanted, and actually skewed
political arrang
ements in favour of a particular group of persons that it wanted to take
over the reigns of power. In 1983, the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) was
seen as a major instrument of rigging the ruling party back to power. For example,
FEDECO was accused
of playing an active role in deepening the crises that engulfed
such opposition parties as the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Great Nigeria
Peoples Party (GNPP). It was also accused of selectively according recognition, and

hence registration, to polit
ical parties that would weaken the opposition to the NPN
government. Thus in 1983, FEDECO announced that voter registration had increased
from 48,499,097 in 1971 to 65,304,818. This was in spite of the fact that the 1979
figures had indeed been considered
to be highly inflated.

The 1999 election results were seen to have been pre
arranged by the departing
military regime with
Independent National Electoral Commission (

being used
to secure legitimacy for the election processes and results. It is on r
ecord that the 2003
elections were conducted by INEC with a law that was both disputed and contested.
Indeed, INEC was accused of being part of the monumental frauds that characterized
the 2003 elections. Thus, according to the Transitional monitoring grou
p “TMG”
(2003) “INEC contributed its own fair share of electoral problems in the 2003
elections. The lack of clearly designated compartments for thumb printing undermined
the secrecy the vote and exposed the voters to the machinations of those that would
ave preferred "community voting". INEC also did not make adequate arrangements
for the transportation of sensitive election materials to polling stations and to collation
centers. Result sheets disappeared and re
appeared in different forms at collation
nters while corrupt party agents simply sold unused ballot papers to the highest
bidder. Following the reversal of the process for the order of the elections by INEC,
voters deserted the State House of Assembly elections. Thus no voting took place in

elections although winners emerged from the process... "Another electoral act
was put in place (electoral act 2006) to address lope holes in the previous act. Despite
the new

arrangement, the 2007 election

was given a thumb down by the international
. Nevertheless,
Clinton (2009) called for stout action against seamless
electoral reforms in Nigeria. Furthermore, Clinton
called on the Nigerian government

to provide support for democratic process in preparation for general elections in the

The Voters register

According to Burke (2006) Registration

in electoral systems is the method
usually used to identify voters who are qualified to participate in an election. The act

of registration is not, in a strict legal sense, a qualification for vot
ing in the way that
age, residence, race, literacy, and religion have sometimes been. It is, rather, a
technique for determining that prospective voters are properly qualified according to
law. Voters commonly register by submitting proof to authorized off
icials that they
have met the prescribed qualifications.

Dundas (19
) stated that, compilation of voters register is a measure of an
election management body in determining its competence, independence, impartiality,
and success in fostering of free and f
air election.

According to the electoral act (2006), The centrality of voters registration in
the body of function of the present Independent National Electoral Commission
(INEC) is underscored by the provision of Part III of National Register of Voters a
voters registration Section 10 (1) of the 2006 Electoral Act of the (Federal Republic of
Nigeria) which stated that, “ The commission shall compile, maintain, and update on a
continuous basis, a National Register of Voters, in this Act referred to as th
e “Register
of Voters” which shall include the names of all persons entitled to vote in any Federal,
State, Local Government or Area Council Elections.

Kagara (2004) suggested that, it is not just any voters’ register that can be a
catalyst to successful e
lection; rather it is only a register that is credible that can serve
this purpose. A voter’s roll that is
credible can only compound the problems in the
electoral process by making it difficult for outcome of the election itself to be widely
e. The success of an election depends to a large extent on the correctness of

the register of voters as it is the principal means of identification and control for


Ujo (2004) gave a historic
al perspective of the problems of voter registration in
Nigeria, when he stated that, it was not until 1959 that a national voter’s register was
compiled. Before then, each region had separate body/authourity responsible for
compiling the register.

It was
not until 1959 that a nationwide exercise was undertaken
for the general election of that year. At the end of the exercise, a total of 9,043,404
persons were registered. This represented 29% of the population 1952/53 census.
Following the military interven
tion and outbreak of civil war in 1966/67, the issue of
compilation of register could not arise until preparations for return to civil rule in
1977. Thus, the second registration exercise took place between 14

January and 28
February 1978. The exercise w
hich was carried under the authority of Decree No. 73
(1977) empowered Federal Electoral Commission, FEDECO to under take the
enumeration of voters. At the end, a total of 48,633,782 persons were registered.

Again, the disruption of democratic process occa
sioned by military intervention
in 1983 stalled further exercise with regard to registration of voters. It was not
therefore until 1991 under General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida that another exercise
took place.

Ujo further stated that, the implementation p
rogram of 4

republic, a nationwide
registration of voters was carried out between October 5

and 19

1998 with a total of
57,938,944 persons being registered.


In all the previous exercises earlier conducted using Manual Data Entry method,
certain probl
ems had bedeviled the exercise thereby jeopardizing the authenticity and
credibility of the register. These problems include:


Multiple voter registrations


Registration by proxy


Under age registration


Lack of or short supply of registration materials


arding / stealing and buying of registration materials


Violence in the registration centers

The consequence of the above problems was the production of voters roll that
could not enjoy as much credibility as expected.

THE 2002/ 2006

y, election systems have been undergoing evolutional and
architectural changes to enable election bodies deliver results, since a thriving
democracy is a gauge of a nation’s development

Kagara (2004) observe
d that, several Election Management Bodies have had to
discard manual data entry method and adopt some form of automation in order to
make the voters roll more credible. Computer application was expected not only to
make the process more efficient, but als
o to avoid having a bloated register. It was for
this same reason that Namibia and Ghana for example moved from manual entry to
new data entry technology in 1994 and 1995, respectively.


The Electoral Act 2006 provided among other things for the compilatio
n of a
based register of voters and electronic transmission of election results.

With the
successful completion of the 1998/99 transition elections, the Commission resolved to
do everything humanly possible to improve the electoral process such to an

height during the 2003 General Election.

In adopting a new technology, INEC set clear objectives and undertook an
extensive feasibility study. Attention was paid to the various options (from optical
Mark Recognition (OMR), Optical Character Reco
gnition (OCR), intelligent
Character Recognition (ICR), Voice Recognition, Intelligent Identity Cards, and
Internet Appliances to Biometrics etc.). In choosing OMR scanner technology due
attention was paid to its suitability to the Nigerian environment and

the successful
experience of other Election Management Bodies in Africa that had adopted it. OMR
scanner is widely used in Nigeria by West African Examination Council (WAEC),
joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). National Examination Council
CO) and Banks. In a way therefore, Nigerians were already familiar with the

While still retaining the manual approach as a backup,

computerization, using Optimal Mark Recognition (OMR) technology. As stated in
the INEC Manual
(2002:3), this involve the compilation on the form EC 1A the names
and particulars of all prospective voters (also known as prospective Registration) who
present themselves physically for registration at registration centers. The information
so obtained is

then transferred and shaded on computer readable OMR forms, which
are later scanned into the database on compilation of field operation and processed to
produce the register of voters.


Kagara further stated that,

it was on record, the exercise took pl
ace between

and 21

September 2002 in all the 120,000 registration centers across the country.
Not less than 400,000 officials were engaged by the commission after an extensive
training using the cascading principle.

Falade (2006) listed some of the

basic and immediate advantages of the electronic
voters registration exercise in 20003 as follows:

Establishment of the Electronic Voter Register


The design,
development, implementation and maintenance of the electronic voter regist
er system
and the establishment of the first ever electronic voter registers in Nigeria.
Temporary Voter Cards

Development of a system to produce 60 million
temporary voter cards in 8 weeks.

Extended Biometric Verification



he extended verification of
applicants using an automated fingerprint identification system.

Production of the Voter Register


Support to

produce multiple copies
of the voter registers on paper and CD’s, each copy involving appro
ximately 40 CDs
and 2 million printed pages.

At the end, the registration exercise was quite successful. A new electronic
voter’s roll was available for both the 2003 General Elections and 2004 Local
Government and Area Council elections. One rema
rkable feature and gain of the
Electronic Voter’s Roll project (EVRP) is that there would not be the need for all
Nigerians to come out again for a fresh exercise as it was the practice in the past.


Setbacks were experienced during the 2003 electronic vo
registration which


Lots of errors in filling the OMR forms


Most OMR forms cannot be scanned.


Voter’s image is not present in the register


Updating the voter’s register was virtually not possible.


Most OMR forms were poorly handled.

Iwu (200
8) stated that, Voter registration is where the rigging starts. The electronic
voters register has the potential of eliminating such vices as multiple registration

registration of ghosts and the under
aged, so it is important that a valid register is
ut in place and a way of identifying the voter," apply scientific rigor to conducting
Nigerian elections, starting with fixing the electronic voting register, which include
the holder's photograph and finger print.

Iwu further added that, As a resul
t of these set backs, an improved system was
introduced. The 2006 electronic voter registration was by every account, an exercise
held within extra
ordinary circumstances. The conduct of the exercise alone and there
successful completion are indeed, remark
able national accomplishments.

Iwu also
stated that, INEC took deliberate and firm steps to checkmate the loose ends through
which elections
were undermined in


From the novel compilation of the Electronic Voters Register (EVR) as an
ve antidote to multiple voter registration and allied acts of perversion, to the
introduction of the installation of communication platform for the electronic

transmission of results, the Commission was resolute and clear in its outline to
conduct a free a
nd transparently fair election.


stated that t
he electronic voter’s register is dynamic and has made it
possible for

Independent National Electoral Commission

to commence a continuous
voter registration scheme.

As a result of the errors in the 2003 voter’s register, this necessitates the review
and improvement of the existing technology; as such the Direct Data Capture Machine
(DDC) technology was introduced. The DDC technology
introduced in 2006
enables a
s data to be captured, and on the spot obtain a temporary voter’s slip. The
voter’s register is obtained after processing the data captured by the DDC machines.
The unique difference between the OMR technology and the DDC technology is that,
with the DDC t
echnology, voters’ image is being captured on the temporary voter’s
slip, on the voter’s register and on the permanent voter’s card along with the voter’s

Falade (2006) cited some of the advantages
of the 2006 electronic voter registration
exercise as follows:

Geographical Information System integration

The integration
between the Electronic Voter Register System and the Geographical Information
System to improve delimitati
on management, spatial data analysis and reporting.
Photo Based Voter Register


Completion of a pilot project to register 300,000
voters and deliver a photo based voter register.

Direct Data Capture


Supply of 5,000 mobile units
for the electronic
registration of voters. This include the electronic capturing of personal details,

photograph and fingerprints and the issuing of a temporary voter card with a 2D
barcode containing encrypted personal data and fingerprint templates.

System Integration


Integration of software functionality supplied by 3

of Direct Data Capture units.


Falade (2006) cited the following as some of the milestones achieved using the
tronic system of voter registration in Nigeria since 2002:

Scanning and processing of 69 million OMR forms in 4 months

Biometric verification of 45 million people in 3 months

Establishment of a 12.6 TB database on Oracle 9

Production of 60 million tempora
ry voter cards in 8 weeks

Establishment of the first ever Electronic Voter register for Nigeria

The integration of the Electronic Voter Register with the 120,000 polling units
on a Geographic Information System

Completion of a pilot registration project fo
r 300,000 voters and delivery of a
photo based voter register

The following are some of the set backs experienced using the electronic
system of voter registration in Nigeria in2006:


Large illiterate

that do not understand the technology
, hence, the need for
aggressive voter education.



Turnout has been hampered by problems with the new computerised registration
system with some machines braking down or running out of battery.


The literacy level of some ad
hoc staff does not qualified th
em to operate the


The machines were introduced to reduce voter fraud yet; powerful local politicians
connived with some ad
hoc staff to corner the registration machines into their


There were reported cases of widespread hoarding of for
ms by lower
level officials,
possibly in collusion with other unscrupulous persons for purposes other than
those for which they are meant.


There were many cases of people registering multiple times, and registration of those
who are legally unable to vote
, such as children.

Free, Fair and Credible
Voting System

jo (2004) states that the
values of a free

and credible
election in a liberal
democratic system of government are

derived from
estern values of governance. There
is a need for an ins
titution to regulate this competition. This is where the role of
independent election management bodies comes. Mackenzie
and Robinson
emphasized the need for their honesty, competence and non
partisanship. These criteria
have been met in Western soc
iety largely due to the history of their electoral institutions.
Also, various mechanisms
such as free, fair and credible elections
have been put in place
to ensure that elections operate in accordance with such values.

One of the justifications for a

free and fair election is Article 21 (3) of the

universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that:

“The will of the people shall be
the basis of the authority of government, this will be expressed in periodic and genuine
elections, which shall be u
niversal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or
by equivalence free voting procedures”. Related to free, fair and credible election are
issues of transparency and integrity. Transparency means openness in the election
process. It promotes p
ublic confidence in the electoral process and acceptance of election
results. The conditions of transparency should include the following:


The need for a level playing field for the various contending political parties.


Fixed dates for election


Independence of the electoral commission


Creation of subordinate entities to enhance transparency.


Involvement of political parties in election processes.


The role of observers, opinion polls and the media


The openness or otherwise of fu
nding for political parties and their campaigns.


The effectiveness of limits over campaign expenditures to contain the impact of


on the democratic process.


The proper arrangement for the polls on ground.


Transparency at the counting pla


The prompt and correct announcement of results.


Setting up an independent election tribunal before the commencement of the


Elections and Technology

GAO (2005) states that the information technology revolution ha
s affected
election management in a number of ways. Electoral authorities use computer systems
to make their internal management and communications more effective, to

systematize voter registration records, and to communicate with voters, among other
. In recent years, computerized voting has also become prevalent, starting with
the adoption of optical scan voting and counting systems in the 1980s and extending
more recently to e
voting systems. Electronic voting systems require a voter to
indicate a c
hoice or choices using a computer interface (often either a push
button or a
sensitive screen); the voting computer records the votes and eventually
calculates the totals.

The Electronic Voting System

In Nigeria, voter’s register is electronic whil
e transmission of election results is
done in a combined manner (electronically
using GSM text messages
and manually

using road/water transportation

to deliver election results
). Voting and ballot counting
are done manually. This has not produced the desir
ed results leading to several cases
of malpractice including mass thumb printing of ballot paper, stuffing of ballot boxes
and snatching same, impersonation and multiple registration, manipulation of election
results among others. Quite a number of electio
n results have been disputed with some
of the areas still pending in election tribunals. The fundamental challenge facing
electoral process is that of assuring that votes are recorded as cast and tabulated
accurately. The application of e
voting has alread
y become a necessary part of global
campaign for increased electoral integrity.

voting is short for ‘electronic voting’ and refers to the option of using
electronic means to vote in referendum and elections
. There are systems such as
Direct electronic re
cording voting machine
that record

vote without that vote
being transmitted over the internet or another network. The interface of a DRE
machine can be a touch screen or a scanner that scans the ballot paper where the voter
marked the vote. The vot
e is then registered and stored in the voting machine. Then
there is the voting over the internet that uses a PC with an internet connection to cast
the vote and send it to be stored in another remote computer. Personal Digital
Assistants (PDA’s), telephon
e or mobile phones can also be used to cast a vote


Blanc (2007) stated that the information technology revolution has affected
election management in a number of ways. Electoral authorities use computer systems
to make their internal mana
gement and communications more effective, to
systematize voter registration records, and to communicate with voters, among other
tasks. In recent years, computerized voting has also become prevalent, starting with
the adoption of optical scan voting and co
unting systems in the 1980s and extending
more recently to direct recording electronic (DRE) voting systems or electronic voting
system (EVS). DRE or EVS systems require a voter to indicate a choice or choices
using a computer interface (often either a pus
button or a touch
sensitive screen); the
voting computer records the votes and eventually calculates the totals. The use of
DRE or EVS technology has expanded rapidly in the United States since the 2000

from 12 percent in that election to 29 pe
rcent in 2004

often encouraged
by the availability of federal funds. DRE or EVS technology is in wider use outside
of the United States. India, the world’s largest democracy with 660 million registered
voters, moved to full DRE voting in its 2004 general
elections, deploying roughly one
million specially designed push
button machines. In 2002, Brazil used roughly
400,000 touch
screen DRE machines for its first fully e
voting general election.

Venezuela, Ecuador, and other developing democracies have als
o used DRE
systems. Lebanon’s draft electoral law calls for computerized vote counting (although
not DRE voting). In the Palestinian Authority and in Iraq, electoral authorities have
requested international advice and assistance in computerized and specifi
cally DRE
voting operations.

The Legislative Assembly elections in Australia Capital Territory
was held using the (polling place e
voting) system using secure local area network. At
this time the internet was not considered a sufficient way of conducting a

parliamentary election. In that election 16,559 votes (8.3% of all votes counted) cast
their votes electronically at polling stations in four places. Electronic votes could be
cast two weeks before election day for those unable to vote on that day.

The u
se of DRE technology in these elections has fed a growing interest in
DRE voting in a wide range of democracies. Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral
Commission announced its intention to use DRE voting in 2007 by including a

provision in the Draft Ele
ctoral Bill. However, it was changed by the legislators, and
the law now says, “The use of Electronic Voting machines for the time being is

Umonbong (2006) consider e
voting machines to be deployed for the electoral
process in Nigeria to ha
ve the following features;

•Ability to capture at least 3 forms of confirmatory evidence for each vote cast

•Interface for real time/wireless transmission of data

•Facility for accurate authentication of voter’s information

•Must be fool
proof Tamper
f and weather
proof to perform under any condition

•Provision for verifiable audit trail

•Provision that allows voters to confirm that their votes have been recorded as cast

•Voice prompt that could be customized in any Nigerian dialect

•Provision for auto
matic and periodic uploading of election results while voting is in

•The data encryption algorithm must be based on distributed encryption method

•Facility that allows the blind and visually impaired to be able to cast votes unassisted

•The equipm
ent battery life must last for a minimum of ten hours

Advantages of DRE or EVS Voting

voting technologies are

attractive and why they cause concern, the
following list summarizes the major issues with respect to e

Ease of counting

ctronic or Mechanical voting systems, optical scan voting machines, and e
voting systems are all being considered in order to make vote counting and result
tabulation faster and more accurate. This is a serious and important consideration.
Although any ele
ction can be conducted using hand

counted paper ballots, this
category of election is time
consuming, costly, and error
prone hand counts, making
mechanical or computerized voting systems attractive.


Ease of voting

ECI (2004) states that voter confusio
n can lead to effective disenfranchisement,
especially of vulnerable voters (such as illiterate or elderly voters). In Afghanistan’s
2005 parliamentary elections, 5 percent of ballots were rejected as spoiled or blank.
Also the 2007 general election in Nig
eria more than 5% of ballots were either spoiled
or rejected. This is a high proportion in international practice and can be attributed
both to Afghanistan’s confusing system of representation and Nigeria’s high illiteracy
rates. E
voting technology promis
es to reduce such figures by making spoiled ballots
impossible and unintentionally blank ballots difficult. E
voting technologies also
allow for more sophisticated voter interfaces, potentially resolving many voter access
problems for those with disabiliti
es or those using minority languages. Visual
interfaces may also be useful for illiterate voters. E
voting via internet allow voters to
cast their vote in an electoral district other than the one where they are registered and
facilitates the polling proces

The systems have not been rigorously tested in the kinds of environment with
low literacy rates and limited technical knowledge found in developing democracy
such as Nigeria. ECI further states that the Election Commission of India claims that
their e
oting system is “User friendly, it can be used even by illiterates.”

Fraud prevention

Associate press (200
) states that electoral authorities have often claimed that
voting technologies can combat or even prevent fraud. In Brazil, a spokesman for
e Superior Electoral Tribunal argued that Brazil’s e
voting systems are “100 percent
fraud free” in contrast to earlier election procedures, which produced charges of
uncounted ballots or tampered ballot boxes. The Election Commission of India has
made si
milar arguments, asserting that e
voting technology combats common Indian
electoral fraud problems, such as capturing polling places or stealing ballot boxes.
However, these election officials do not offer any compelling basis for
their expansive

claims, a
nd there is no evidence that e
voting machines make an appreciable
ifference in the incidence of electoral fraud. As happened in India prior to the use of

voting. Polling places can still be “captured” (i.e., local heavies can monopolize
voting booths,
voting multiple times), as can e
voting machines as they are transported
to central tally locations. More importantly, as will be argued below, the use of e
voting technology in fact creates dangerous new possibilities for fraud or allegations
of fraud.

evertheless, there will be reduction in violence significantly.

Cost reductions

Pintor (2006) states that it is often claimed that e
voting technology reduces the
cost of election administration. Such claims seem credible, as we are accustomed to
ation technology measures increasing efficiency and thus reducing cost in a
range of business and government activities. The cost arguments made for e
technologies all rely on middle

or long
term projections, though, as the initial
investment costs

are recouped by lower ballot printing and transportation costs.
Despite this, there are no longitudinal studies to confirm these projections. Repair and
replacement of e
voting equipment, warehousing of e
voting equipment in secure and
climate controlled
facilities, salaries for skilled maintenance workers and trainers, and
other continuing costs may well make e
voting technologies less cost effective.

Rico (2009) mentioned that labor will no longer be needed for several
days/weeks to manage and monitor el

Issues to be considered before adoption

of DRE or EVS

The above discussion made
clear that many of the claims made about the
advantages of e
voting are largely unsubstantiated, particularly in developing
democracies. Against

ntages, one major disadvantage must be
highlighted: damage to the reliability and credibility of the electoral process.

Damaged credibility of the electoral process

Any computer program can have an undetected, unintentional error (a “bug”).
Any comput
er program can be changed by malicious programming (“hacked”) in a
way that

is undetectable after the

(Feldman et al 2006)

This is true of all manufacturers and, in fact, of all computer software. Various
measures can reduce e
voting system’s vulner
ability, including computer security,

physical security, testing and analysis of systems and coding, and good election
procedures. None of these steps, and no combination of these steps, can change the
irreducible, immutable vulnerability of computer syste
ms. For example, the computer
security techniques used in India’s e
voting systems ma

it unlikely that they could
be reprogrammed by a person with limited, casual access to them (such as a voter),
though the machines used in the United States are vulnera
ble to such attacks. Even the
Indian systems are vulnerable to programmers with more extensive access to the e
voting machines, such as electoral officials.

MISNA (2006) states that this vulnerability means that, election results can be
manipulated; it
also creates the danger that legitimate election results will not be
accepted, because allegations of manipulation cannot be refuted conclusively. There
are two recent examples of this threat to election credibility. In 2004, Venezuela held
a presidential
recall referendum. President Hugo Chávez won handily, with 58 percent
of the vote. The elections were observed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and
by the Organization of American States, and both reported that no fraud had been
observed. However, bec
ause 90 percent of votes were cast on e
voting machines, the
opposition was not persuaded by the observation reports

and for good reason. The
observers could not attest to the reliability of the e
voting systems themselves. Unlike
elections with paper ball
ots and hand counts, simply observing the process from
beginning to end cannot ensure that no fraud has been perpetrated. While computer
scientists critical of e
voting voting examined voting statistics and found no patterns
that would substantiate the spe
cific allegations of fraud, this possibility cannot be
ruled out. In addition, in Ecuador in 2006, technical failures of voting machines in the
Guayas province led to allegations of fraud and the temporary detention of a
representative of the Brazilian tec
hnology provider.

Rico (2009) states that a
round two years ago in Florida, a poorly designed
voting machine led to
13% not casting their vote for their desired representative

screen interface was inconsistent, leading to confusion and a phenome
known as “banner blindness”, while i
n Finland, the lack of clear instructions (and

once again, a poorly designed process) led to 232 voters (out of 12,234)
not finishing
the voting process
. These voters failed to notice that they had to “validate” their votes
after making their picks.

These numbers may not seem significant. But if you’re
running a nationwi
de election in
a country like
Nigeria, with millions of votes to
process, these errors will increase in scale.

CBS/NYT (2006) states that in Ohio, 64 percent of Democrats believe that the
2004 presidential vote count was not fair and accurate, as oppose
d to 30 percent who
believe that it was.

Possibility that fully digitized system would fail to produce results and lack
physical back
up records, making a public recount difficult or impossible

More difficult to detect and identify the source of errors
and technical
malfunction than with conventional procedures.

Hausmann and Rigobon (2004) states that in

democracies, such
insidious doubt about an election result could well undermine the election and the
credibility of any elected government
. It may be possible to salvage the utility of e
voting by using voter verified paper ballots (VVPB). Electronic voting systems that
produce VVPBs allow voters to confirm their choices on a permanent, hard
record. In order to be effective, VVPBs need

to meet several criteria. First, they must
not compromise the secrecy of the vote, so they should not be recorded in order on a
paper tape. Second, the printouts must be legible, and procedures should encourage
voters to confirm their contents. Third, in
case of differences between paper ballots
and digital records, the paper ballots must prevail. Fourth, procedures must be in place
for extensive, correctly randomized hand
count audits after all elections. However,
VVPBs bring their own challenges. If VVPB

procedures are put into place, the
additional cost and complexity may well make e
voting prohibitively expensive,
especially for relatively simple elections. In addition, there must be clear procedures
for using the VVPBs to determine or verify the electi
on outcome. The e
systems used in Venezuela in 2005 produced paper records, but because there were
insufficiently rigorous audit procedures, the opposition did not accept the ad hoc

audits conducted after the election

and academics at Harvard and MI
T confirmed the
opposition’s claims about the unreliability of the audit process.

Operational and logistical constraints of transitional environments

In addition the major disadvantage of e
voting, that it can undermine the
electoral Process, several l
ess dramatic dangers must also be considered. These all
relate to the practicality of e
voting in difficult environments. Training of election
officials and voters, secure storage and maintenance of the machines, power supplies,
replacement machines and pa
rts must all be considered when debating the use of e
voting in Nigeria. In particular, poll worker training requires special attention, as few
poll workers will be experienced computer technicians, able to correctly respond to
computer errors (they may ev
en be too unfamiliar with computers to describe the error
to remote technical assistants). The use of VVPBs also complicates poll worker
training because of the mechanical problems often associated with printers. Technical
complications and spiraling costs

have already created problems in the adoption of
sophisticated electronic procedures in new and developing democracies. In East
Timor, an electronically compiled voter registration was eventually discarded, despite
its great cost. In Kosovo, a combined ci
vil and voter registration experienced severe
problems, although these were eventually corrected through a series of additional
registration periods. In Nigeria in 2007, an electronic voter registration raised serious
concerns about its use in the April 20
07 elections. In each of these cases, the problem
has been a combination of insufficient technicians, computer illiteracy at the grass
roots, insufficient training for those managing and utilizing the technology, and
equipment ill suited to the physical ri
gors of the country. Voting technologies are
inherently more difficult to deploy than registration technologies because of their
larger scale. Many more machines, technicians, power sources, logistics bases, etc.,
are required to conduct an election than t
o register voters in Nigeria.

Public and political support

The most critical element of the successful adoption of any electoral reform is
broad support from the public and from political actors. Electronic voting technologies

must be a reaction to a w
idely perceived need, and they must be accepted as reliable
and transparent.

Appropriate technologies

Electronic voting technology must be able to manage whatever range of
elections and systems of representation that are required; they must be robust
to the
physical environment in which they will operate, and they must be user
friendly to the
intended voters. In addition, they must be rigorously tested and certified. This
requirement is more difficult than it may appear. The laboratory that tested “mos
t of
the [U.S.’s] electronic voting systems” was barred from certifying voting equipment
in the summer of 2006 because they failed to follow their own testing and
documentation protocols, calling into question the reliability of the equipment they
have alr
eady certified.

The real
world conditions of an actual election are hard to simulate through a
controlled experiment. Since election systems serve a crucial role, it’s important to get
things right. You need to first test them on a small scale, and resolv
e any issues
encountered. Before wide
scale implementation, all potential problems

and their

must be clear.

Operations and logistics

An electoral management body must have staff with sufficient computer skills
to manage the e

voting process

at all levels, including technicians at the polling level
and more senior technicians in managerial positions. Controlled storage and
transportation must be available to maintain the machines in working condition and to
deliver them to polling locations. P
ower supplies must be available and reliable, either
at the polling location or to charge batteries.

Risk Factors



The software used all throughout the process, from ballot reading
all the way to returns tallying, must be open for public scrutin
y. It may not be
proprietary and secret.




Ballots and computers used throughout may fail.
Backup/contingency plan must exist and be robust. Sabotage could be the way
cheating will be introduced, in order to force reverting to manual process.



Transmittal and reporting of results could be susceptible to
hacking. Instant public visibility of results as counted at source and as
transmitted at receipt will mitigate threats of hacking.



Voting needs to be simple and straightforward.
Many Nigerians are not
computer literate, and barely literate. Voting errors can lead to many spoiled
ballots, which may either be invalidated like in the US, or can be used as a
pretense to revert to manual.

Consideration of alternatives

Integrity measur
es include “voter security and ballot security, with the latter
defined as “arranging the voting and counting in such a way that the voter lists, ballot
papers, tallies, and other result records are

(emphasis added).” While
evident” m
ay be a more accurate term, the concept is valid. Electronic voting
technologies that do not employ

voter verified paper ballot


are not tamper
evident and are therefore dangerous to credible elections. Such technologies used in
developing democracie
s such as Nigeria pose profound risks to the legitimacy and
effectiveness of elected governments and to the gradual development of democracy.
Before turning to the potential for international assistance, it is important to note the
existence of a reliable
alternative to e
voting, paper ballots and hand counts. With
correct procedures, paper ballots counted by hand at the polling station in the presence
of observers and political party agents allow for an almost perfectly transparent
electoral process. Altho
ugh fraud is still possible, it can be detected and proved by
adequate observation.

Auditing of e
voting systems

Just as is the case with manual voting systems, e
voting systems have to be
able to be audited, i.e. it must be possible to examine the proce
sses used to collect and
count the votes and to re
count the votes in order to confirm the accuracy of the

results. The greatest danger to e
voting systems is if external interference on systems
is possible and can go undetected affecting the results of th
e voting. This is why
independent and extensive security monitoring, auditing, cross
checking and reporting
needs to be a critical part of e
voting systems.

The different mechanisms to audit an e
voting system include ‘voter verified
audit trail’ (VVAT),
also known as ‘voter verified paper ballots’. These systems
include paper records of the vote, which have been verified by the voter at the time of
casting the vote and can be used for a recount at a later date. VVAT can only be used
in non
remote e

systems (polling place e
voting), since the voter has to be
physically present at the place where his/her vote is actually recorded and printed for

Other systems include the disclosure of the source code and/or documentation
on the e
voting syst
em, so that voters or/and representatives of political parties and
civil society organizations have the opportunity to examine its accuracy. Whichever
approach to auditing is chosen, it is crucial that the e
voting system has audit facilities
for each of t
he main steps of the voting operation (voting, counting). The audit system
should also provide the ability for independent observers to monitor the election or
referendum (without revealing the potential final count/result). The audit system has
to be able

to detect voter fraud and provide proof that all counted votes are authentic.

Audit systems by their nature gather a lot of information. However, a voting
audit system should maintain voter anonymity and secrecy at all times. In all cases the

gathered by the audit system has to be protected against unauthorized



the Integrity of the Electoral Process through Automation



Wish to
carefully bring into focus what it takes to have credible register of
This paper therefore recommends

the following:


Credible voter’s register is necessary condition for successful election.



Achieving credible voter’s roll most often entail introduction of new


The technology to be introdu
ced in a country is a function of so many
factors Including cost, literacy level, and workability of the system; just
as in our case

where the finger print is the most important and key element.

The making of a credible register is a continuous proce
ss. It requires
constant fine
tuning as technology is dynamic.

n charting the way forward for future elections, INEC should eliminate paper
based elections. Such incidents as snatching of ballot boxes and ballot sheets as well
as various other subjective

human influences make it necessary for the continued use
of paper
based elections to be re
assessed. INEC should once more canvass for the
full use of the Electronic Voting System. With the Electronic Voters Register now in
place, the country should go al
l out to support the system. INEC should always
employ competent (computer literate) ad
hoc staff to carry out any future electoral
activities. The mind set of Electoral officers
electoral officers
need to be aliened to the
new order.


ll that have
been stated
above should not be construed to mean that only
technology can ensure efficient election administration. It is the human capital that
ultimately guarantees what is being done. No matter how good the technolo
gy is, if
the human being who would drive the technology is not willing to embrace change, he

can frustrate whatever innovation any technology promises to bring to bear on the
election administration. As we all know, the greatest headaches being faced by I
is the attitude of the politicians who would stop at nothing to ensure that they win. A
Nigerian politician does not believe in loosing an election. This political culture as a
panacea for trouble as it causes the over heating of the polity. Let it be
said that the
democratic project is a task for all.

There is no doubt that a comprehensive Electronic Voting System will enhance
the standard of elections in the country. The nexus between the quality of elected
governments and the future of democrac
y in our society is therefore very apparent.
Literarily speaking, the future is in our hands.

While accepting that there are problems with election in Nigeria, it is equally
true to say that the people must work hard to overcome them. Election is a pr
involving many stake holders who are expected to perform their expected functions at
the right time. These stakeholders are the government, the election management body,
political parties, security agents, civil society and the electorate. The stake
is certainly
not an easy one, but with proper focus and hard
automated electoral process
be achieved.



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