The rush for voters card around various parts of the nation is unbelievable, as Nigerians seem to have become aware of the need to take part in the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s voter registration process.
But, while the rush to complete the registration, there are possible setbacks that might hinder voters from casting their votes.
First, INEC will be introducing a new machine in the next GeneralElections known as the Bimodal Verification Accreditation System, BVAS.
This machine will be exchanged with the Smart Card Reader which services would no longer be required.
Recall that the Smart Card Reader had its purpose in elections in the past, precisely from the General Elections of 2015 upward.
But, the Electoral Commission believes that once the new BVAS is tested in the forthcoming polls, a better result would be achieved when compared to the previous method.
To paint a clearer picture of why the voting process might not function as expected, to use the new machine, those that already have the existing Permanent Voters Card, PVC, would still have to go through the BVAS machine for accreditation and if there happen to be an error and the machine fails to recognise the card, this means the voter would be denied the opportunity to cast his/her vote.
While there might be similarities with the previous card reading device, the BVAS machine would need the electorates thumbprint, as well as a facial recognition process to identify the actual individual to cancel any possibility of impersonation.
How does this work? A voter would have to place his/her thumb on the machine which then makes the information on INEC’s portal appear.
The challenge here is to have a case where the voter’s details fail to appear. And while this might not be new to Nigerians, if the thumbprint is not recognised, the individual would be denied the right to vote, even if he/she is registered formally with INEC.
Although there is another option, the only way out of this setback is the face recognition process. Voters are required to look directly at the machine for identification. If this works out, voting can commence, but if this also fails, it simply means the voter had not initially registered with INEC and would be asked to leave for others to attempt theirs.
One of the positive sides of the BVAS machine is, that it reasonably reduces rigging and electoral malpractices. How? The electorate must be verified first before he/she would be granted access to vote, thereby, giving room for one man, one vote, with a more transparent process that suggests credibility to the masses.
BVAS Failed to Recognise Some Voters Card in Anambra, Ekiti
Meanwhile, in the practical sense of this matter, findings in states like Anambra and Ekiti, where the machines had been used, show that there were many disenfranchised voters denied their rights despite having registered with INEC.
The reason for the failure of the BVAS machine to accredit voters in the aforementioned states was because images of voters that earlier registered are currently outdated and do not match with the current looks as a result of ageing, facial changes and similar disadvantages.
Those identified as the highest victims of denied votes are the elderly, especially those that received their PVCs in 2010/2011 and 2014/2015.
Advice had been issued, urging the election authorities to embark on a massive revalidation of persons with old PVCs.
The experts have asked that their pictures in INEC’s data bank, be updated with current images, and if need be, they should also present other outdated details of their lives, including addresses, names, and other necessary documentation.
The earlier the reassessment starts, the better for the electoral commission, electorates and political candidates.