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Elections might be rigged with technology, INEC boss warns

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The Independent National Electoral Cmmission INEC says it is worried that elections across the African sub-region might be open to rigging through advancements in counter technologies.

Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, the INEC chairman made the revelation yesterday while addressing a the opening ceremony of a conference attended by the Electoral Management Bodies of the ECOWAS member countries and the South African Development Community member states.

According to Professor Yakubu, given the high stakes of conducting elections in developing countries, electoral commissions must understandably be worried about the twin issues of communication and security especially in situations where data reside with and is directly transmitted to the tallying centres through offshore vendors rather than exclusively controlled within national boundaries by election monitoring bodies.

“We have to contend with the disturbing but rapidly increasing incidence of election meddling through the deployment of counter-technology on a global scale by state and non-state actors.

“Already, election management bodies in our sub-regions and beyond have deployed technology in one way or the other to improve on the processes, administration and outcome of elections.

“These include: training and capacity building for electoral officials, promotion of inclusivity in the electoral process like youths, women, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons; biometric registration of voters, delineation of electoral constituencies and geo-referencing of existing as well as the creation of new polling units.

“Others include: the establishment of robust electronic databases, accreditation of voters during elections, actual voting and the speedy and more accurate collation and transmission of results,” he said.

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