The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) revealed that the introduction of the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) will eliminate acts of fraud with Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), making Nigeria’s electoral process more efficient.

This was disclosed by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu in a meeting with media executives on Tuesday in Abuja, reported by the News Agency of Nigeria.

INEC revealed the IVED system will be the new voter verification device, adding that despite the ongoing voter registration process, the commission is working round the clock to improve service delivery and credible voter accreditation during elections in Nigeria.

The INEC boss said innovations made by the commission include the introduction of machine-readable Permanent Voter Card (PVC) and the Smart Card Reader (SCR) as well as uploading of polling unit results in real-time on election day.

What the INEC boss said

Yakubu revealed that observers called on INEC to improve voter accreditation during elections, citing the use of incident forms where the SCR failed to authenticate the fingerprints of voters.

“Such concern is legitimate given the fact that the SCR successfully verifies any card that belongs to the polling unit for which it is configured irrespective of who presents it,” he said.

“Their apprehension, therefore, is that by using the incident form to cover those whose fingerprints are not authenticated by the SCR, a voter may be able to use another person’s PVC to vote during an election.”

He revealed that INEC launched the facial biometric authentication during accreditation using the Z-Pad tablet to complement the fingerprint process through the Card Reader, before the Edo governorship election in September 2020.

“However, the Commission was not satisfied with the pilot held in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency by-election a month earlier in August 2020,” he said.

“We, therefore, suspended the idea to enable us to do some innovations; so the Z-pad was therefore only used to upload Polling Unit results to the IReV portal during elections.”

He added that over the past year, INEC improved the technology with the Z-pad integration into the IVED currently used for voter registration.

“On election day, the same device will become the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to be used, first, for fingerprint authentication during accreditation and where it fails for facial authentication.

“We believe that where the voter fails both the fingerprint and facial authentication, he/she will not be allowed to vote. In other words: no electronic authentication, no voting,” he said.

He added that INEC is convinced that the new machine is robust enough to further guarantee the credibility of voter authentication and transparent management of results during elections, as the BVAS will now perform the functions of both the SCR and Z-Pad in the by-election.

“Thereafter, it will be deployed in the Anambra governorship election in November,” Yakubu said.

INEC Director of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Chidi Nwafor, said the IVED had nothing to do with the transmission of election results but for voter’s authentication and accreditation. He added that apart from eliminating theft of PVCs to vote, IVED machine had the capacity to read back-code to eliminate the possibility of using a PVC to vote more than once on election day, and that the functionality of the device for accreditation and verification had nothing to do with internet availability.

“The new technology voter verification could be done via fingerprint or face recognition while the card could also be read through back-code.

“The device would make voter verification faster, saying the maximum time for a voter verification would be 30 seconds on the average,” he added.

What you should know

Recall Nairametrics reported in June that the Senate broke its silence on the electronic transmission of results for the Electoral Bill, insisting that INEC may only electronically transmit election results if the Nigerian Communications Commission endorses the mode of electronic transfer as safe and secure.