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INEC says Card Reader test successful Featured

Sunday, 29 March 2015 00:00 Written by  Published in Update Read 3653 times
Attahiru Jega: INEC National Chairman Attahiru Jega: INEC National Chairman

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has expressed satisfaction with its field-testing of card readers, planned for use in validation of voters in the March 28 and April 11 general elections.

The electoral body said in a statement that the exercise, held in 12 states from the six geo-political zones of the country, was successful and will prove useful during the elections. It however acknowledged challenges in confirming fingerprints.

The statement came amid controversies between the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party, PDP, which opposes the use of card readers during the polls, and the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, which backs the policy.

INEC says the cards will help combat electoral fraud.

The electoral body said it achieved 100 per cent success in its objective of verifying the authenticity of the Permanent Voter Cards presented by voters.
On the biometric authentication of voters, INEC conceded that only 59 per cent of voters who turned out for the demonstration had their fingerprints successfully authenticated.

However, the Commission allayed fears of disenfranchisement of voters, saying provision for manual validation had long been put in place for such cases.

“The Commission, in agreement with registered political parties, had provided in the approved Guidelines for the conduct of the 2015 elections that where biometric authentication of a legitimate holder of a genuine PVC becomes challenging, there could be physical authentication of the person and completion of an Incident Form, to allow the person to vote,” the statement by spokesperson, Kayode Idowu, said.

The card readers' test showed the devices could help generate data essential for research and planning purposes, INEC said.

“The Smart Card Readers provide disaggregated data of accredited voters in male/female and elderly/youth categories – a disaggregation that is vital for research and planning purposes, but which INEC until now had been unable to achieve. The demonstration on Saturday fully served this objective,” it stated.

The electoral body said the card readers were able to send data of all accredited voters from polling units to the Commission's central server, thereby checking attempts at fraudulent alterations.

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