Ballot Paper not Finger Sensitive
The Independent National Election Commission (INEC) has said that its ballot papers are not finger-sensitive, and the electorate can use any finger to vote, provided the inked finger print is placed within the box of the preferred political party and does not stain another box. INEC made this clarification in reaction to reports that the pattern of fingers allowed for printing on the ballot paper had been changed. In statement on it Twitter account, it said: “A voter can use any finger to vote but should ensure that his or her mark is clear and place inside only one box.” INEC said it expects this clarification will allay the fears of the electorate and clear up any misunderstanding about the voting process.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that adequate preparations have been made for persons displaced from their communities, to vote. INEC has stated that 409,813 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Borno state will cast their votes in camps within and outside Maiduguri. According to the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Muhammed Ibrahim, the IDPs from these LGAs of the State, form 20 percent of the 2.3 million registered voters in the State and voting will be conducted in the IDP camps in the Local Government headquarters; while for others, the voting will take place in IDP camps in Local Governments in and around Maiduguri. The eight LGAs in which IDPs will vote are: Abadam, 45,707; Dikwa- 52,395; Gamboru-Ngala – 64,488; Guzamala- 36,669; Kalabalge 43,489; Kukawa – 60,678, Marte – 61,802; and Mobbar- 44,705.
Borno State has been at the sharp end of the Boko Haram crisis and thousands of people have left their homes in search of safety to other States such as Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Bauchi, and The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and across the border in Republic of Chad and Cameroon. In November 2018, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said over 59,000 people have been displaced in the North East, mainly in Borno State.
INEC Creates 57,023 more Voting Points for Election
An additional 57,023 voting points have been created for the elections. According to the Chairman of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the new voting points are to “address the large number of voters which stands at 84million.” He explained that the increase in voters from 69 million in 2015 to 84 million accounts for the increase in the number of voting points and is in accordance with INEC Regulation 3(c). The additional points for voting would also ensure that “voting is done in record time in order to allow for quick collation of results which is expected to take longer due to the high number of political parties.”
He explained that voting points are like sub-polling units and are different from polling units. They are created when a polling unit has more than 500 registered voters and a maximum of 750 registered voters. Devolving a new voting point from it will aid efficiency. Otherwise, if everyone turns up to vote at such polling units, the process of accreditation and voting would not be completed by 2pm. He clarified that notwithstanding that a voting point is derived from a polling unit, it is not completely independent. Ideally, a polling unit should not have more than 750 voters.