The Senate yesterday commenced the amendment of the Electoral Act bill 2021 which will now makes it compulsory for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make available to a political party or candidates in any election, upon request, the details of the number of accredited voters for the election on both the card reader and voters register used for the election.
The bill which was read for the first time, sponsored by the Senate Spokesperson and Chairman, Senate Committee on Media And Public Affairs, Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru (Osun Central) provides that where the votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceeds the number of accredited voters on the voters register and card reader in any polling unit, the result of the election in that polling unit shall be declared void and another election conducted where the result at that polling unit may affect the overall result in the constituency.
The new proposed amendment will be a major innovation that will provide legal backing to the use of card reader for elections in Nigeria.
The bill seeks to amend the Electoral Act by altering the period for accreditation and voting as well as providing for the compulsory use of card readers for accreditation.
Amongst other provisions, the Bill makes provision for separate periods for accreditation and voting, with further provision that accreditation commences by 8:00am and close by 1:00pm.
It was gathered that by the provisions of the proposed amendments, voting commences immediately after accreditation; however, this is without prejudice to the fact that all voters who are already on the queue by 1:00 pm shall be accredited.
In the proposed amendment to the Electoral Act, the accreditation process shall comprise of the verification of voters using the Card Reader and Register of Voters.