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Senate Begins Legislation on Electronic Voting

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A bill seeking to compel Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use electronic voting scaled into second reading in Senate.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.

Propositions of the bill to amend the 2010 electoral act include comprehensive amendments to the Principal Act which is a response in part to a plethora of Supreme Court decisions.

The proposed legislation mandates INEC to accommodate new technologies in the accreditation of voters during election.

It enacts a new Section 87 on Nomination of Candidates by Parties for Elections by prescribing maximum fees payable by aspirants and restricting nomination criteria strictly to relevant provisions of the Constitution; and clarifies that under Section 138 (1)(a) of the Principal Act, a person shall be deemed to be qualified for an elective office and his election shall not be questioned on grounds of qualification if, with respect to the particular election in question, he meets the applicable requirements of sections 65, 106, 131 or 177 of the Constitution and he is not, as may be applicable, in breach of sections 66, 107, 137 or 182 of the Constitution.

The Act forbids members of political parties from taking up employment in INEC; mandates INEC to publish the Voters Register for public scrutiny at every Registration Area and on its website at least seven days before general elections.

It also mandates INEC to suspend an election to allow a political party that loses its candidate before or during an election to conduct a fresh primary to elect a replacement or new candidate.

The bill also grants political parties that nominated candidates for an election a right to inspect its identity and the logo appearing on samples of relevant electoral materials proposed to avoid incessant cancellation of elections due to exclusion of parties from election due to printers errors or deliberate mischief of not including the logos of some parties on electoral materials.

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