Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill passes Senate first reading

Tunde Opalana, Abuja

The Senate on Wednesday read for the first time, another bill seeking to amend the Electoral Act by altering the period for accreditation and voting as well as providing for the compulsory use of card readers for accreditation.

Sponsored by the Senate spokesperson and Chairman, Senate. Committee on. Media. And Public Affairs, Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru (Osun Central), said the bill amongst other provisions, makes provision for separate periods for accreditation and voting, with the further provision that accreditation commences by 8:00 am and close by 1:00 pm.

 By the provisions of the proposed. amendments, voting commences immediately after accreditation; however, this is without prejudice to the fact that all voters who are already on the queue by 1:00 pm shall be accredited.

In the proposed amendment to the Electoral Act, the accreditation process shall comprise of the verification of voters using the Card Reader and Register of Voters. 

Furthermore, the bill provides that where the votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceeds the number of accredited voters on the voters register and card reader in any polling unit, the result of the election in that polling unit shall be declared void and another election conducted where the result at that polling unit may affect the overall result in the Constituency. 

This a major innovation that provides legal backing to the use of cards for elections in Nigeria.

The bill also makes it compulsory for INEC to make available to a political party or candidates in any election, upon request, the details of the number of accredited voters for the election on both the card reader and voters register used for the election.

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