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INEC: ‘No Face Mask, No Voting’, plans e-balloting from 2021

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that electronic balloting will be used for future elections in the country beginning from the November 2021 Anambra State governorship election.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

“This commission is committed to introducing at least electronic balloting using machines to ballot and we are determined to implement this using the Anambra governorship election in November next year.

“Thereafter when the law is amended, we can talk about e-transmission of results because the law at present does not allow for e-transmission of results but it allows electronic balloting hoping that when the law is amended, we can go full blast to transmit results electronically,” Yakubu said.

The commission, however, emphasised that full deployment of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), which will include e-transmission of results would only be implemented when the electoral act is amended.

The INEC boss clarified that the recently introduced tablet (Z-pad) would not be deployed for the Edo and Ondo governorship elections because it is still undergoing testing.

According to him, the Z-pad is an innovation introduced by the present commission in order to optimise the use of smart card reader, particularly to achieve full biometric accreditation.

He, however, noted that the result-viewing portal as piloted by the commission during the Nasarawa state constituency bye-election will be fully deployed for the governorship elections.

Meanwhile, the INEC Boss stated that 8 protective measures, ranging from the mandatory use of facemask, hand sanitizers, use of methylated spirit and cotton wool to clean the card readers, the rules of physical distancing, the use of infrared thermometers and procedure for handling voters and officials showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“It is mandatory to wear face mask or face covering without which the voter will not be allowed vote. Face covering will be sufficient for the voter to be accredited and to vote”

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