The Senate Thursday passed amendments to the Electoral Act 2010, approving the use of electronic voting in future elections.
It also approved that election results should be electronically transmitted to collation centers.
The passage of bill followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on a Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and for other related matters (SB 231 and SB 234).
Major highlights of the new bill include provision for the use of electronic voting by INEC during future elections, use of Card Reader and also gives INEC power to modify the voting process if there is a challenge.
The Senate also approved a provision to enable INEC transmit the result of elections electronically in an encrypted and secured manner to prevent hacking.
To address the incident that happened in Kogi State, during last gubernatorial election, the amended Electoral Act provides that if a candidate dies before results of elections are declared, the results will not only remain valid but belongs to the political party that lost its candidate.
It also added that in such a scenario, the INEC should suspend the elections for 21 days during which period the affected political party will conduct fresh primaries to choose a new candidate.
The Bill also gives political parties power to adopt direct or indirect primaries in choosing their flag bearers, while qualification of disqualification of candidates for elections will be solely based on the Constitution.
In his comments after the adoption of the report by the Red Chamber, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, thanked his colleagues for a job well done and expressed optimism that the Bill would further improve the nation’s electoral system and also contribute to good governance.
Saraki said: “We have touched on new areas which I believe will improve the credibility of our elections and by so doing, definitely improve our democracy and good governance.
“Most importantly, I think, are some of the new sections we have added, in the area of technology, the smart card reader, and particularly the area of collation which has been an area of great concern.
“Collation of results after the polling units and some of the additions we put on the electronic way by which the compilation of results can be done, I think will go a long way to reduce some of the irregularities we have seen before.
“I think when signed into law, it will enable INEC to have something to work early enough. I think what we have done today will really put our electoral law among the best that we have and it will go a long way in improving our electoral process,” he said.
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