In compliance with stipulations in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on Good Governance which asks parliaments to pass electoral acts not less than six months before elections, the Senate yesterday passed 2014 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill with a provision empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt electronic voting device if it so wishes. This decision was a marked departure from the parliament’s earlier decision which prohibited the use of electronic voting machine as provided in Section 152 (2) of the 2010 Electoral Act. This provision was however, amended in 2014 Electoral Act with a view to enabling INEC to determine the form of voting it chooses to adopt whether it is electronic or otherwise. “Voting at an election under this Act shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the INEC,” it said.
While presenting the report of the Senate Joint Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution on Electoral Act Amendment for passage yesterday, Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, said Section 152 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 was so amended “to allow INEC determine the procedure for voting at an election, thereby removing the prohibition of electronic voting.”
The Senate also rejected a proposal seeking to incorporate presidential debates in the Electoral Act. The proposal, which sought to amend Section 100 of 2010 Electoral Act with a view to achieving this objective, was rejected in view of the committee’s report that “election debates should remain outside the purview of the law.”
The lawmakers also threw away a proposal seeking to transfer the onus of proof of election regularities at election tribunals to INEC, with insistence that the burden of proof should remain the responsibility of the petitioner.
Full Article: Senate Passes Amendment to 2010 Electoral Act.