We have adequate structures to successfully e-transmit election results, INEC insists

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in its strongest defence of e-transmission of election results, says it has developed adequate structures and processes to successfully transmit election results electronically.

The commission disclosed this in its “Position Paper No.1/2021 Electronic Transmission of Election” released on Saturday, in Abuja.

The commission stated that the available national infrastructures, including mobile network coverage were adequate to provide for electronic transmission of election results.

In the paper, INEC expressed its belief that electronic transmission of results would improve the quality of election results management, while its engagement with stakeholders had shown that the Nigerian public supported electronic transmission of election results.

“The technology and national infrastructure to support this are adequate.

“Consequently, if the choice was up to INEC, the commission prefers to transmit election results electronically once the necessary legal framework is provided,” it said.

The objectives of the position paper, according to INEC, was to explain the desirability of electronic transmission of results as an electoral reform issue in Nigeria today, adding that it was also to clarify the position of INEC on some of the central issues around e-transmission of results.

“To build a consensus on electronic transmission of results as an electoral reform issue based on a shared understanding of its desirability towards the 2023 general election,” is also another reason, INEC explained.

The commission disclosed that for over a decade it had piloted the electronic transmission of election results via Short Messaging System (SMS) for off-cycle and bye-elections in 2011.

“The second system piloted for the 2011 General Election was called the e-Track. The idea was to use handheld scanners to scan all polling unit results and send them as PDF files to a backend for processing and publishing.

“Unfortunately, the commission’s staff deployed for that purpose did not scan many of the results, while some of the scanned results were not legible.”

However, it noted that for the 2011 presidential results collation, INEC set up a system of transmitting state level results electronically to the national collation centre in Abuja, ahead of the arrival of the physical result, through a secured e-mail address that only the chairman of the Commission could access.

The paper stated that the innovation enabled the results to be ready for crosschecking against the physical result and to be displayed for public viewing during collation, which had brought a lot of transparency into the final collation of Presidential election results.

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