The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would pioneer the electronic balloting in the November 2021 governorship election in Anambra State.
The commission also said the policy it developed for the conduct of elections during coronvirus would assist in the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at the media briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Thursday, said the Commission is committed to deepening the use of technology in the conduct of elections.
Prof. Yakubu stated that the commission has been using technology to deepen democracy in the country, including for the accreditation of election observers, media and the submission of candidates by the parties in Edo and Ondo elections.
Said him, “This commission is committed to introducing at least electronics balloting using machines to ballot and we are determine to implement this using the Anambra governorship election in November next year.
“The law does not allow for electronics voting but it allows electronics balloting until the law is amended to accommodate electronics voting.”
On the conduct of election in COVID-19, the INEC Chairman said the commission has identified eight protective measures from the national policy on COVID-19.
He listed the measures to include mandatory use of face masks, hand sanitizers, the use of methylated spirit and cotton wool to clean the smart card readers after the fingerprint of each voter is read; rules of physical distancing, the use of infrared thermometers and procedures for handling voters and election officials showing covid-19 symptoms.
He stated that the use of face mask is mandatory for every voter during the elections, but explained that INEC was not insisting on the use of medical face masks.
“We need to emphasize that we are not asking for the kind of face mask I’m wearing, not surgical face mask, but face covering will be sufficient for the voter to be accredited and to vote,” he said.
He assured that the voters would be required to maintain physical distancing, disclosing that the commission introduced two queues: one outside the polling area and the other inside the polling area.
“Within the inner queue, voters must maintain the mandatory two meter or six feet distance from each other.
“And we clearly mark this in one of the by-elections we conducted last month… Furthermore, voters must avoid touching surfaces or leaning on walls at polling units to vote,” he said.