Despite the introduction of electronic transmission of results, the Independent National Electoral Commission has stated that the collation of the results of the general elections in 2023 will be done manually.
Festus Okoye, National Commissioner of INEC and Chairman of the organization’s Information and Voter Education Committee, emphasized that, as in recent elections, the commission would transmit results from polling places to its result-viewing portal, IReV, but that the Electoral Act was clear about how collation should be done.
There is a noticeable difference between the transfer/transmission of results and the collation of results, Okoye stated in an interview with our correspondent on Saturday. According to Section 50(2) of the Electoral Act of 2022, the commission has complete authority over how elections are conducted and how results are communicated. The post-election process and the compilation of election results are governed by Sections 60 and 62 of the Electoral Act. According to Section 60(1) of the Act, the presiding officer must record each candidate’s vote totals in a form that the commission will specify once the ballots have been counted at a polling place.
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The presiding officer must transfer the results, including the total number of accredited voters and the ballot results, in the manner specified by the commission, according to Section 60(5) of the Act. When the candidates or their polling agents are present, the presiding officer shall then deliver the results, along with the election materials, to the person specified by the commission after recording and declaring them.
The implication of this is that the process of compiling the results is still largely manual, but the collation officer must compile the results after verifying and confirming that the number of accredited voters stated on the compile result is accurate and consistent with the number of accredited voters recorded and transmitted directly from polling places.
While collating the results will “mostly” be done manually, he clarified, in the event of a disagreement over a collated result or the outcome from any polling unit,