A senior official of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has refuted reports that the use of card readers to authenticate voters is unconstitutional. Both the 1999 constitution and the Electoral Act of 2010 stipulate that “electronic voting is prohibited for now.” Critics say those laws are also meant to cover the use of electronic readers to check voter registration cards. But Nick Dazang, INEC’s Deputy Director for Public Affairs said critics are misunderstanding the measures. “The card reader we are deploying for the elections is meant only for accrediting voters before they vote,” said Dazang. “Electronic voting means using a machine to vote. And in the instance of the card reader, the only thing it does is to accredit and authenticate the voter and then verify the voter as the genuine voter of the Permanent Voter Card [PVC] that we are using for the election.”
Tujja Masa won’t dare vote in Nigeria’s presidential election next month. The 50-year-old farmer is one of the hundreds of thousands who’ve fled their northeastern villages to escape gun and bomb attacks by Islamist militants. Raids last week were said to have killed hundreds of people in the town of Baga, while a girl as young as 10 detonated explosives at a market in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. The self-declared leader of the Islamist Boko Haram group, Abubakar Shekau, has likened democracy to homosexuality and incest in video messages. “I am really afraid of election day,” Masa said in Maiduguri, the city in which he’s sheltering with relatives after running away from Krenoa, his village in the north of Borno state. “Honestly we are praying for God to come to our aid and have hitch-free elections, but I will not go there.” Nigeria, home to Africa’s biggest economy, oil industry and population, is stumbling toward general elections in the face of worsening violence by the Islamist group, Boko Haram, and the introduction of a biometric voter-card system designed to end ballot stuffing and fraud.
Namibians voting in their presidential election will become the first in Africa to use electronic voting. It has been 25 years since Namibia’s first democratic elections, and for the first time 1.2 million people are expected to cast their votes electronically in the country’s fifth election since independence. ”The decision to consider acquiring electronic voting machines was primarily based on some challenges and experiences that we have had in the manner and way we manage our elections,” the electoral commission’s Theo Mujoro told China’s CCTV. The voters will cast their ballots for presidential and parliamentary candidates on separate machines, chunky slabs of green and white plastic with the names and images of candidates and their party affiliation that make a loud beep after each vote. ”The younger people get it first time, but the older ones you have to explain a little,” said presiding officer Hertha Erastus.
Namibia will vote in Africa’s first electronic ballot Friday, a general election that will usher in a new president and quotas to put more women in government. Opposition parties had launched an 11th-hour challenge to the use of the Indian-made e-voting machines, claiming the lack of a paper trail could open the door to vote rigging. But the Windhoek High Court dismissed the application on Wednesday, leaving the door open for the election to go ahead as planned. Namibians will choose 96 members of the national assembly and one of nine presidential candidates, ranging from the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters to the white minority Republican Party. Around 1.2 million Namibians are eligible to cast their ballots at nearly 4,000 electronic voting stations across the vast desert nation. But there is only one likely winner. Current Prime Minister Hage Geingob of the ruling SWAPO party has run on a platform of “peace, stability and prosperity” and is sure to become the new president.
During an interview with Radio Maryja, an ultra-Catholic radio station, and then in Poland’s lower house of parliament, Kaczynski made his most forthright comments yet since the results were belatedly released on 22 November. “The elections were falsified,” the Law and Justive leader claimed. “One only needs to determine exactly to what extent, and who is directly responsible, because the beneficiary is clear enough to the naked eye,” he said. In parliament, he stressed the large amount of invalidated votes (17.93 percent), urging MPs to back draft legislation that would shorten the terms of those elected. Although Law and Justice won the most votes (26.85 percent), the party garnered 4 percent less than an exit poll had indicated. Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz’s Civic Platform party managed 26.36 percent of the vote, slightly less than the 27.3 percent given in the exit poll.
In a recent lawsuit, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union challenged a law that prohibits the posting of photos of marked ballots on social media. TheNHCLU states, “there is no more potent way to communicate one’s support for a candidate than to voluntarily display a photograph of one’s marked ballot depicting one’s vote for that candidate.” NH RSA 659:35(I) bans a person from displaying a photograph of a market ballot, including on the internet through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. A willful violation of this statute may be punishable by a fine up to $1,000. House Bill 366, which took effect September 1, 2014, was meant to update a century-old law against vote rigging. According to Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan, the original law dates back to the 1880s when vote-buying was rampant and votes were bought with money, liquor, and other enticements. According to Scanlan, digital technology is opening the door again for vote buying and voter coercion, and HB 366 attempts to ensure that door remains shut.
Police in Solomon Islands have recovered a ballot box after it was briefly stolen by an election official following yesterday’s historic polls. Vote counting is underway in the country’s general election, the first to be led by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. The 10-year Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was reduced to a police mission supporting local police last year. Solomons police confirmed a ballot box was stolen by an election official as a boat was being loaded to go to a central counting station. The incident happened near Auki, in the eastern part of the island of Malaita.
As the first round of the Romanian presidential election has passed, many legal irregularities and troublesome voting procedures cast uncertainty over the second round. Euractiv.ro reports. The two candidates that have moved on into the second round of the Romanian presidential election are Victor Ponta (PSD) and Klaus Iohannis (ACL). The latest partial results presented by the Central Electoral Office show Ponta with 40.33% of the number of valid votes and Iohannis with 30.44%. Although Ponta is leading by 10%, nothing is certain for the second round. An important element that stands to influence the second round is represented by the actions of the former candidates. Combined, all the other 12 candidates have gained almost 30% of the votes, half of which were cast for the first three, including Călin Popescu Tăriceanu (independent, a former liberal Prime Minister), Elena Udrea (PMP, a former Liberal Democrat Minister of Development) and Monica Macovei (independent, currently a member of the European Parliament).
The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has moved to allay fears of vote rigging and corruption after opposition parties raised alarm about the use of electronic voting machines without a paper trail. Namibians are set to go to the polls in November to elect the country’s third democratically elected president as well as members of the National Assembly. The November plebiscite will for the first time make use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) that were purchased from India, but the absence of a paper trail to be used in conjunction with the voting machines has seen members of the opposition crying foul. Despite the use of the voting machines in regional by elections held recently that were declared free and fair, the opposition feel that the absence of a verifiable paper trial will see results of the November election being manipulated in favor of the ruling party South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO).
An online petition demanding a revote in the Scottish independence referendum is now at almost 100,000 signatures as vote rigging conspiracies continue to gain momentum among disappointed pro-independence campaigners. It didn’t take long for accusations of voting irregularities to start swirling after Scotland voted “No” to independence on September 18th. In the aftermath of the result, pro-independence Yes campaigners have taken to social media in large numbers to complain about reported incidents of vote fraud and demand a return to the polls. The accusations come despite First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the Yes campaign, calling on pro-independence supporters to “accept the democratic decision.”