Citizens’ Platform (1): Voting 101 – Before the Elections

Series Intro: We will be taking you through a series of posts that will teach you all you need to know about voting: from getting your card to casting your vote and everything in between. We have sourced majority of the information we will be sharing from INEC. This week, we are taking a quick overview of everything. Please read, learn and vote right!

Vote!

Election season is that period a lot of people look forward to, whether it is to show their loyalty by voting a candidate in or for them to change the already elected candidate. Elections in Nigeria present voters with an important choice of deciding how they want to live their lives in the next four years. Whatever decisions they make will positively or negatively affect their community and country at large.

Every voting year more individuals who were not eligible in the last election cycle become eligible and as such there is the need for the continued voter education and accreditation. The Nigerian Electoral Act has however vested the Independent National Electoral Commission with the power to conduct the continued accreditation.

The education of voters is not a task that should be left for the commission alone as it is important that every eligible citizen understands the power she wields at the polling unit and the consequences of her choice as she makes her decision.

The election process and procedure are however discussed as follows:

CONTINUOUS ACCREDITATION AND VOTING PROCEDURE AT ELECTIONS

  • The Commission having approved the pilot of the Continuous Accreditation and Voting Procedure at elections, for the time being, the following shall constitute a supplement to the existing guidelines and regulations at elections:
  • All procedures specified in the Guidelines and Regulations for the conduct of the 2015 General Elections remains in effect with following expectations:
  • Voting shall be by the Continuous Accreditation and Voting System.
  • The accreditation process shall comprise of authentication and verification of voters using the Card Reader, checking of the Register of Voter, inking of the cuticle of the specified finger.
  • The ballot paper shall be issued in the prescribed manner by the Presiding Officer of a Polling Unit/Voting Point (Settlement) and the Assistant Presiding Officer (VP) in the case of a Voting Point (VP).
  • Accreditation and Voting shall commence at 8:00am and close at 2:00pm provided that any voters already in the queue shall be granted access to Accreditation and Voting in the prescribed manner.
  • The Polling Unit layout shall require the Presiding Officer to sit next to the APO II.
  • The Presiding Officer shall act as the Overseer.
  • These additional guidelines are meant to supplement the existing Guidelines and Regulations for Election, in the Pilot Phase of the Continuous Accreditation and Voting procedure.

THE VOTER- WHO IS HE/SHE?
• S/He is a Nigerian citizen.
• S/He is 18 years and above.
• S/He has registered in the constituency where he intends to vote.
• S/He possesses a registration card obtained during voters’ registration.

HOW A VOTER CAN VERIFY REGISTRATION
• A voter is expected to check the register of voters to ascertain that her name is included.
• That her name was correctly spelt and written.
• This is done when the register is displayed for inspection.

PERSONS WHO CANNOT VOTE
• The following persons cannot vote at election.
• All persons below the age of 18 years.
• All non-Nigerians.
• All persons who did not register as voters.
• All persons who do not hold a voter registration card.
• All persons whose names are not in the voters register.

WHERE TO VOTE
• Voting takes place at polling stations/units.
• A voter is expected to cast his vote at the polling unit where his name is on the voter register.
• A voter is expected to identify his polling station where his name is on the voter register.
• A polling unit nearest to the residence of the voter.

HOW TO VOTE:
• Voting will be by Open Secret Ballot System.
• Your vote is secret because no one will see which candidate you choose.
• You will mark your ballot behind a polling screen secretly.
• Apply your finger print only in one circle/space which corresponds to the candidate of your choice.

PROCEDURE: PREPARING FOR VOTING:
• The Presiding Officer (PO) shall:
• Explain the voting procedure to the voters.
• Invite all voters accredited to form a single queue.
• Where culture does not allow men and women to mingle in a queue, separate queues are created for men and women.
• The PO shall count loudly the number of accredited voters in the queue, and record the number.

1 thought on “Citizens’ Platform (1): Voting 101 – Before the Elections

  • Hi am sani bala shehu by name a human right Defender and Advocator, i really appreciate your work on Citizens platform, i happens to be engage and participate at kano Gaya islamic center, the programme is good, i do hope you extend the other project to kano, i will close this one third finish statement by saying, we loves you, God Love you and God bless you.

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