Ahead of the March 28 and April 11 elections, the usage of the Card Readers is a big leap for the nation’s democracy, but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should conduct more mock card reader and voting exercises to improve the technical capacity of the polling officials.
A civil society group, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) gave the advice Tuesday in Abuja while presenting the interim report of its 195 observers deployed to monitor the exercise in 12 locations where they were held.
The head of research policy and advocacy of YIAGA, Samson Itodo told reporters that they are convinced that the card reader machines have proven to be very efficient and reliable device for enhancing electoral integrity.
He also advised that the finger print authentication should be limited to two instead of 10 fingers, develop alternative ways of transmitting accreditation data from the poling units to its central server in case the GSM date service fails on election day, and to deploy more female election officials to encourage more women participation especially in the North.
“We are convinced that the card readers if properly managed have the tremendous potentials of preventing electoral malpractices in the forthcoming elections, 98 percent of the polling units observed reported that the card reader successfully verified all the PVCs presented by the voters and registered in all the polling units,” Itodo said.
On the processing speed of the machines he said the average time spend on the verification as observed is 5 seconds in 84 percent of the polling units, while 20 seconds was the average time used for fingerprints authentication.
The group further urged that the officials should be properly be educated on the role and duties of observers, as field reports indicate that some polling officials were hostile and non-cooperative with observers.
He wonder why some of the political parties were opposing the Card Readers usage when they were all part of the arrangement and its approval in 2014.
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