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 INEC buys 20,000 extra card readers

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PostSubject: INEC buys 20,000 extra card readers   2015-02-22, 06:46

The Independent National Electoral
Commission has confirmed the
procurement of about 20,000
backup card readers and 35,000
backup batteries as part of
measures to tackle possible
challenges during the accreditation
and election exercise scheduled to
hold on March 28 and April 11.
Recently-held elections in
countries like Cameroon, Ghana,
Mali, Cote D’Ivoire, Uganda, Bolivia,
Venezuela, Guatemala and
Colombia, which made use of
similar biometric technologies,
were marred with challenges like
data manipulation, poor mobile
networks, and breakdown of card
In an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH,
Mr. Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press
Secretary to the INEC Chairman,
Prof. Attahiru Jega, however, said
with the procurement of backup
devices, among other
precautionary measures, it would
limit the challenges that may arise
during the election exercise.
He said, “We have learnt specifically
from Ghana’s experience that with
regard to the design of the card
readers, there could be battery
problems. As a result, some of those
card readers could not function and
thus, elections had to be
rescheduled to the following week
because the (political parties) and
the commission agreed that there
would be no voting without
accreditation. In Nigeria, we have
also taken all that into account.
“The first of the three plans is that
for each card reader, we have
backup batteries. In Ghana, it was
batteries that failed. The design of
the card reader is such that the
battery, when in continuous use,
would last 12 hours. But
accreditation is for five hours. So, if
the battery is fully charged, there is
no way you can exhaust the battery
capacity. Despite that, we have
spare batteries; more than 35,000
batteries have been procured so
that if, for whatever reason, there
may be a challenge with the
battery, one can replace it.
“We also have spare card readers,
in case the problem is the entire
device. That aside, we have done
integrity tests, several of which
were carried out in Texas, us,
showing that they don’t fail easily
and that they are of the highest
quality. In spite of that, we have
bought nearly 20,000 spares, in
addition to 152,000 active card
readers, so that if for any reason the
card reader malfunctions and can
no longer continue, the spares
would be deployed at the wards for
the exercise.”
Idowu explained that whatever
time was lost in the deployment of
new cards would be added. He
added that if, for instance, the
replacement resulted in a one-hour
delay, the five-hour accreditation
exercise would thus be extended
from its scheduled closing time of 1
pm to 2 pm.
He noted that in addition, if a card
reader cannot be replaced before
the time for accreditation is over
that day, the exercise would be
repeated the following day.
“Rather than reverting to manual,
the political parties agreed on this.
The reason is obvious: if we say we
should revert to manual, human
factor will come in, because there
are so many people who don’t
want these card readers to be
used,” he said.
The CPS further ruled out data
manipulation as a challenge,
explaining that INEC would receive
real-time information on the
accreditation exercise and that the
system was fool proof.
“Each card reader is preconfigured
to a polling unit. In other words,
before polling officials get to the
polling units on election day,
technical staff of INEC would have
configured the card reader to that
polling unit for them to use. The
card reader is also programmed
such that if one were to use it
between 8 am and 1 pm, for
instance, and attempt to use it
again at 8 pm, it will not work.
That’s part of the configuration.
“The second thing is that when
voter cards are read and people are
accredited, it instantly sends the
data on accreditation to a central
server ahead of the counting of the
ballot papers. Therefore, before
ballot papers are cast, the
commission at the back end already
has the information of how many
people were accredited.
“Previously, immediately after
accreditation, officials were to
enter the accreditation figures
before voting starts. But in reality,
there would be a delay in sending
the accreditation figures and, when
ballot papers are cast, funny deals
would be made resulting in false
accreditation figures. That is no
longer possible because the card
reader sends the information to a
central server,” Idowu noted.
He also said poor mobile
connection would not be a
challenge as the card readers make
use of sim cards.
According to the Jega’s
spokesperson, the card readers are
designed with built-in memory due
to areas that may have poor
network coverage.
Meanwhile, INEC in Ondo State has
said it has so far distributed a total
of 1, 064, 156 Permanent Voter Cards
to registered voters.
This was said by the state’s
Resident Electoral Commissioner,
Olusegun Agbaje, who told one of
our correspondents on the phone
that a total of 430, 013 cards were
awaiting collection by their owners
as at Thursday.
He said the figure represented
71.22 per cent of the total cards
received by the state, leaving a
balance of 28.78 per cent.
According to him, Ondo State
received a total of 1, 494, 169 PVCs,
and the rate of collection has been
on the increase given the window
of the postponement of the
“Our centres are still very much
open for collection and we urge
voters to come forward to collect
their cards,” he said.
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PostSubject: Re: INEC buys 20,000 extra card readers   2015-02-22, 07:18

signs of seriousness
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PostSubject: Re: INEC buys 20,000 extra card readers   2015-02-22, 10:14

@sunnyga wrote:
signs of seriousness
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