REPS PROPOSE MANDATORY ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION OF POLL RESULTS
The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, passed the Electoral Act 2022 Amendment Bill for second reading, brightening the prospect for making electronic transmission of election results mandatory to minimise fraud in the nation’s electoral process.
The bill seeks to revisit the controversial electronic transmission of results that was rejected during the last review.
The House on Wednesday debated the general principle of the bill and passed it for second reading. ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act, 2022 and for Related Matters,’ is sponsored by the member representing Ughelli North/Ughelli South/ Udu federal constituency of Delta State, Hon. Francis Waive.
The bill seeks to amend selected sections of the current Electoral Act to provide for the re-registration of voters, same day elections, electronic transmission of results as well as punishment for frivolous election petitions.
Debating the general principles of the bill on the floor of the green chamber, Hon. Waive lamented the gaps in the current Electoral Act 2022, noting that an amendment of the law to pave the way for the electronic transmission of election results would help the nation’s democracy.
The lawmaker also argued that, “A review of the voter register every 10 years will be a good starting point.”
The proposed legislation seeks to amend Section 10 of the principal Act by providing for a new subsection (3) that: “without prejudice to the provisions of this section and subject subsection (2), every 10 years the commission shall carry out a reregistration exercise of all eligible voters in preparation for the next general elections.”
In addition, Section 28 (1) of the principal Act is amended by adding a new paragraph (c) as follows: “Subject to paragraph (a) of this section, and without prejudice to other sections of this Act, election into the Office of the President, National Assembly, State Governors and State House of Assembly shall be conducted on the same day.”
Furthermore, Section 47 of the principal Act is amended by inserting a new – subsection (3) and the current sub-section (3) now becomes sub-section (4) as follows: “where the process of accreditation specified in sub-section (2) above fails, such a voter is automatically disqualified from voting, that is to say no accreditation, no voting”.
More so, Section 60 (5) of the principal Act is amended by inserting the word “transmit” after transfer and also the word “electronically” at the end of the sub-section that: “The presiding officer shall transfer and or transmit the results including total number of accredited voters and the results of the ballot electronically.”The lawmakers also amended Section 130 (2) of the principal Act, providing a new sub-section (2) while the previous sub-section (2) becomes sub-section 3 as follows: “Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-section (1) above, any person who presents a frivolous petition to the tribunal shall be liable to pay a huge fine to the respondent, if the court so determines the petition to be frivolous and a waste of time.”