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INEC To Conduct Field Test on Card Readers
In preparation for the upcoming 2015 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will be conducting field tests on the functionality of the smart card readers to be deployed for the accreditation of voters on Election Day.
A release issued recently and signed by the director of the commission’s secretariat, Ishiaku A. Gali confirmed that the scheduled field tests would take place simultaneously in two states of each of the six geopolitical zones of the federation on Saturday, March 7, 2015.
According to the release, tthe states selected for the exercise are Ekiti and Lagos in the South west; Anambra and Ebonyi in the South east, Delta and Rivers in the South south, Kano and Kebbi in the North west, Bauchi and Taraba in the North east and Niger and Nasarawa in the North central zone.
The Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, of the selected states have been charged with the responsibilities of selecting registration areas with the full complement of Permanent Voter Card, PVCs, and with an appreciable distribution of such PVCs for undertaking the field test.
The RECs are also to ensure that the register of voters in respect of all polling units in the selected registration areas is printed for the conduct of the exercise.
The electoral body has also directed its national commissioners to supervise the conduct of the exercise in their zones, adding that RECs who are not selected for the exercise should observe the conduct of the exercise in their zones in conjunction with the national commissioners.
The RECs would be expected to carry out engagements with key stakeholders at the state level, and in particular, those in the selected registration areas where the exercise would be conducted to ensure massive participation by registered voters.
The commission’s director of voter education, Oluwole Uzzi, who gave more clarification on the issue on Tuesday said that the demonstration of the pilot scheme in two states in each of the six geopolitical zones is intended to show the public what the card reader technology is all about.
According to Uzzi who spoke at a youth enlightenment workshop in Abuja, over 700,000 ad hoc staff would also be engaged in the over 150,000 polling units across nation.
The director also used the occasion to debunk the misconception that the use of card readers would amount to electronic voting.
“It is also to authenticate the person who has the card. We are practically taking these cards around these 12 states. If you are not the owner of the card, your biometrics will not be verified,” he stated.
“All the details will be transmitted to the central server for all to see. It is a technological backbone that will nullify all illegal votes,” he said further..
Describing how the field tests would be conducted, Uzzi said that INEC would select a particular ward in a local government of the selected 12 states for the testing.
“If you have your card and you are registered in any particular area, you will go there and we will demonstrate how we are going to deploy the card readers,” he said.
Uzzi assured his audience that 99 per cent accuracy of the card reader could be guaranteed, while also stating that a negligible error could be experienced during the deployment of the card readers.
According to him, the deployment of the card reader is a positive development that would effectively nullify all irregularities in the voting process.