Electoral Amendment: Senate approves adopts electronic voting, direct primaries

Written by on November 9, 2021

The senate has approved the conference committee report on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

The approval was a sequel to the presentation and consideration of the report by the Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, on Tuesday.

The Senate and House of Representatives had passed different versions of the bill in July and some provisions of the legislation had generated controversies.

One of such was clause 62 which deals with the use of modern technology in voting and transmission of results.

The Senate initially empowered the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Assembly to determine the use of electronic transmission of results in an election while the House allowed electoral umpire, INEC, to transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable.

A conference committee was thereafter, set up to harmonise the differences.

However, three months later, the Senate rescinded its decision on the clause and approved that INEC will determine the use of electronic voting and transfer of results.

The Senate also amended clause 87 of the bill to mandate political parties to hold only direct primaries for candidates seeking elective positions – against what was passed earlier.

Direct primary election is the mode of election where all members of a political party participate in the choice of its candidates to stand in the main election.

In the conference committee report, both chambers of the National Assembly have agreed to empower INEC to determine the best mode to transmit election results.

This means the commission will decide how to transmit election results — either electronically or manually.

The committee also approved that all political parties must use the direct primary mode in picking candidates.

Current track