August 9

Ruto’s team okay with digital voter register while Raila’s wants both digital and manual registers

Wednesday, June 29th, 2022 12:56 | By
Wafula Chebukati on Voter Register
IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati during an engagement with Presidential candidates. PHOTO/Courtesy

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential candidate William Ruto and his allies have indicated that they are okay with the digital voter register, while his rival Raila Odinga's camp wants both digital and the manual register.

In a meeting with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), it was revealed that the electoral body will adopt a fully biometric voting system in the August 9 General Election.

If the biometric identification does not work, IEBC officers will search through the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) using the ID number, which will retrieve the voter information for identification. The information will include the voter's fingerprints, which will give the polling clerk an opportunity to redo the fingerprint identification to confirm the identity of the voter.

Paul Mwangi on manual voter register

According to Raila's ally Paul Mwangi, a complementary system must be different from the primary system, hence the use of alphanumeric identification on the KIEMS kit did not amount to a complimentary system on the voter register.

"What the case did say at the High Court is that a complementary system must be different under section 44A of the Elections Act from what you have under section 44.

Section 44A states that the Commission shall put in place a complementary mechanism for identification of voters and transmission of election results that is simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent to ensure that the Commission complies with the provisions of Article 38 of the Constitution.

"Nobody is saying that you use printed registers, we are saying that that system should be in place. The law requires that you do have that system in place so that if anything should fail it should be there. The law requires that you have that system in place whether it is going to be used or not," Mwangi said.

According to UDA secretary-general Veronicah Maina, the physical voter register could allow manipulation by having people vote twice.

The physical register does open opportunities for people to walk in, pretend they are being verified from the physical register when they have not been identified through the KIEMS kit and as a result have many unregistered voters entering the (polling) stations, accessing ballot papers and voting by avoiding or circumventing the KIEMS kit," said Ms Maina.

According to IEBC CEO Marjan Hussein, the manual voter register is prone to abuse in the voting process, the reason it will not be used in the 2022 General Elections.

"KIEMS Kits works offline in terms of identification, it works through backup. This information will be resident in the SD card and if there is a malfunction the SD card can be put in a backup kit," said Hussein.

"This method (of using a manual register) is prone to abuse. When you identify voters through technology, the system automatically archives the details of those who have voted meaning that if that person presents himself again, then that person cannot be able to vote (again). The system will automatically sound an alarm. The system will also maintain account and tally of those who have voted," Hussein added.

On the other hand, Hussein says that the use of the manual register can be used by people to vote twice, especially in the later hours of the voting exercise when people are tired.

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