Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Nigeria: INEC Election Guidelines - Critical Information

Accreditation concludes at 12 Noon

The guidelines [1] for the Nigerian elections in April 2011 have been published and these are the most important points to note by all Nigerians and accredited monitors of the elections.

All eligible voters need to be accredited before they can vote. Accreditation takes place between 8:00AM and 12 noon, anyone not accredited within that timeframe will NOT be able to vote on that Election Day.

Once a voter is accredited, the index finger of his/her left hand will be marked with indelible ink.

Voting commences at 12:30

Voting commences from 12:30 in the afternoon and ends when the last accredited person has voted. No additional accreditation can occur after 12 noon or if voting ends early.

At the end of accreditation, all officials are introduced. Next all accredited voters will queue up in one single line. Where tradition does not allow men and women to mingle in a queue, there will be separate queues for men and women.

All accredited voters are then counted and the number is announced loudly to the hearing of all assembled.

Note: This is presents one opportunity to relay this information to the ReVoDa system [2].

After having the transparent ballot box displayed to all assembled, the accredited voters can approach the presiding office one at a time and obtain a signed, stamped and dated ballot paper.

The accredited voter then moves to the cubicle, thumbprints the space opposite the symbol of the party of his/her choice and then drops the ballot paper in the ballot box, in the full view of all present.

The visible audible count

Once all accredited voters have voted, the count can commence.

The contents of the ballot box are emptied on the table and the ballot papers are sorted according to party symbols then in alphabetical order the ballots are called out and counted with the results of the count announced to the hearing of all assembled.

If the number of votes counted exceeds the number of accredited voters at that polling unit and after thorough verification it remains the case, the results for that polling unit will be nullified and duly announced and published as such.

The facts must go up the chain

The collation chain then moves up the system through the Collation Officer at the Registration Area Center, to the Local Government Area level and then to the State level all monitored by approved party agents, security agents and accredited monitoring agents.

For these elections to be free, fair, transparent, honest and devoid of malevolent influence all Nigerians need to be alert, vigilant, smart and ready to ensure that they votes count and most importantly ensure that no situation arises that would lead to having the votes at your polling unit nullified.

Sources and references

[1] INEC guidelines for the general elections in April 2011

[2] ReVoDa | How it works – Protecting your vote

Nigeria: ReVoDa - Making Your Votes Count

Nigeria: A Primer on INEC Elections in April 2011

Always read the Nigerian #INECRegistration BiDaily for Nigerian and electoral issues.

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