Nigerian Senate Okays E-Voting, Card Reader. Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, the Senate has approved the use of electronic voting method in conducting future elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), including the 2019 general election.
The decisions of the Senate followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission on a Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and for other related matters (SB 231 and SB 234).
According to the passed Bill, if such a scenario occurs, INEC should suspend the elections for 21 days during which the affected political party will conduct fresh primaries to choose a new candidate within 14 days of the death of its candidate and submit a new candidate to the Commission to replace the dead candidate.
The Act under sections 36 (3a, b and c) makes provisions for tackling such an emergency.
The section states: “If after the commencement of poll and before the announcement of the final result and declaration of a winner, a nominated candidate dies, (a) the Commission shall, being satisfied of the fact of the death, suspend the election for a period not exceeding 21 days;
(b) the political party whose candidate died may, if it intends to continue to participate in the election, conduct a fresh direct primary within 14 days of the death of its candidate and submit a new candidate to the Commission to replace the dead candidate; and
(c) Subject to paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection, the Commission shall continue with the election, announce the final result and declare a winner.”
In the bill, the electronic voting provisions of the Act is contained in section 52 sub section 2 which states: “The electoral commission shall adopt electronic voting in all elections or any other method of voting as may be determined by the commission from time to time.”
The section however gives INEC discretion to use other methods of voting if it is impracticable to use e-voting in any election.
The passed legislation also prescribes a punishment of a 5 year jail term or N5, 000,000.00 fine or both for officials of INEC who are found to be members of a political party.
Section 87 that deals with nominations of candidates by parties for election from councillorship to presidency with pegging of the amounts that should be collected from them by their various political parties.
The Act states that monies collected from aspirants by political parties for councillorship election should not exceed N150, 000.00, Local Government Chairman, N250, 000.00, State House of Assembly member N500, 000.00, House of Representative member N1,000,000. 00, Senatorial aspirant N2, 000,000.00, Governor of a State N5, 000, 000. 00 and N10, 000,000.00 from a presidential aspirant.
The Act also limits the powers of the courts to stop the conduct of political party primaries for elections.