With effect from 2021, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will introduce electronic voting in major elections.
“We will pilot the use of Electronic Voting Machines at the earliest possible time (not Edo and Ondo), but work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021,” INEC said in a 17-page policy document on the conduct of elections following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The document was signed by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and obtained by PerSecondnews.
INEC said it would engage with the National Assembly and other stakeholders to explore ways of responding to the rising cost of conducting frequent bye-elections in the country.
It said its decision followed the Supreme Court judgment which states that votes belong primarily to political parties as well as its records.
“The commission will engage with the legislature and other stakeholders to explore ways of responding to the rising cost of conducting frequent bye-elections, especially in consideration of the Supreme Court position that votes belong primarily to political parties, as well as the Commission’s records, which show that only in 10 per cent of all bye-elections since 2015 did the party that won originally lose the election.
“The commission will engage relevant authorities, including the legislature, to designate election as an essential service to enable the commission function effectively in times of national emergency,” INEC said.
On the Edo and Ondo governorship polls scheduled for September 19 and October 10, 2020, the commission said it would use electronic and non-contact means to recruit ad hoc staff.
INEC promised to reduce to the barest minimum interstate movement of staff, including ad hoc staff, for off-season and bye-elections to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus.