The Nigerian Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday, failed to recommend mandatory transmission of election results despite repeated calls for it by civil society groups and other stakeholders.
Although the committee abandoned its initial move to expunge from the new Electoral Act, the clause on electronic transmission of results, it however, made it optional.
The ecommittee, which had earlier jettisoned the idea of electronic transmission of election results, in its report that would be passed today, adjusted the contentious section of the bill to state that INEC may now partially transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable.
The new bill, when passed, will only empower INEC to transmit results electronically in some parts of the country and only if the electoral body deems it necessary.
The report read: “52(1) Voting at an election under this bill shall be by open secret ballot.
“52(2) Voting at an election under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission, which may include electronic voting.
“52(3) The commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable.”
The earlier provision in Section 50 (2) of the Electoral Act Bill which was inserted into the bill, had no provision for INEC to transmit results of any election electronically.
The section had read: “Voting at an election under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission, which may include electronic voting, PROVIDED that the commission shall not transmit results of elections by electronic means.
“A voter on receiving a ballot paper shall mark it in the manner prescribed by the commission.
“All ballots at an election under this bill at any polling station shall be deposited in the ballot box in the open view of the public.”
It was gathered that the section which was “smuggled” into the bill was never part of the provisions agreed by the stakeholders and the Senate Committee on INEC during their various engagements.