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Kenya: Electronic Voting ‘Still Six Years Away’

Mr James Oswago, the IIEC chief executive officer, said the country would not yet implement electronic voting but would instead procure a platform for electronic voter registration for next year’s elections in which voters will cast ballots for at least six candidates in various levels of government.

“We are not yet ready for electronic voting in 2012 mainly because there is a lot of civic education to be done to the public and politicians,” said Mr Oswago.

“Any application of technology must increase administrative efficiency, reduce long-term costs and enhance political transparency. In the end, elections are about choices expressed in terms of results and those results acquire legitimacy only through unanimous or widespread acceptance”.

Several hurdles must be overcome before the system can be put to use, not the least of which is civic education for the electorate and politicians.

IIEC has already been granted Sh15 billion for the year ending June 2012 which it said includes a budget for procuring the electronic voter registration platform, carrying out civic education and training its officers on how to use the equipment.

The pursuit of technological innovations is informed by the report of the Independent Review Commission (Kriegler Commission) which found that the register used in the 2007 general elections was “materially defective”, still bearing the names of over 1.2 million deceased persons.

There were also delays in tallying, recording, transcribing and transmission of results; shortcomings which have been cited as some of the factors that contributed to the explosive political climate.

Electronic voter registration, which was piloted in 18 constituencies-involving about 1.5 million voters – entails the capturing the voter’s biometric features; a facial image and fingerprint.

Source: allafrica news


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