5 July 2010

Nigeria: Nigcomsat Takes E-Voting Plan to INEC

The Nigcomsat says intends to sale the electronic voting machine it developed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today, saying it holds the potential to solve Nigeria's balloting challenges.

Science and Technology Minister Prof Muhammed Abubakar will lead the Nigcomsat executive to INEC Chairman Prof Attahiru Jega to unveil the new machines hoping the commission would use it to conduct subsequent elections.

Managing Director of Nigcomsat Engr. Ahmed Rufai said the locally developed e-voting system takes care of all difficulties in conduct of elections in the country.

"Nigcomsat e-voting system is based on Radio Frequency Identification technology which uses a contact-less card system with enhanced security features like triple DES, PES, AES all embedded in a voting card. The registered voter ID with his passport photograph and finger print will be on the card to show that he is eligible to vote. A voter's finger print will be screened against his card for authenticity and detect multiple registration.

"Once the finger matches with the one on the card, the voter is then eligible to vote. After a choice of candidate has been made, a printout of the political party, person, time and place he voted will be given to him with a copy placed in the ballot box. This will prevent multiple registrations and voting. The System also displays full names and pictures of candidates for various offices being contested for as registered by INEC along with names and logos of political parties they belong to."

Rufai said the machines are powered by rechargeable batteries that have longevity period of up to 30 days and also takes care of challenges of illiterate voters.

"Once activated during voting the machine is programmed to speak to the voter in a language he or she understands to guide the voter on how to proceed from one step to another, if there is a problem its can be re-programmed and started all over," he said.

The agency said if INEC accepts its proposal, Nigcomsat has the capacity to produce 40,000 machines by November at a cost of about N10 billion for use during the 2011 and subsequent elections.

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