Electoral Act Amendment Bill
In the last couple of months, there has been a battle between the President Buhari & the National assembly & the president’s failure to sign the
For those of us that do not understand the drama of the electoral amendment bill, these are the changes to be made in plain basic simple English:
1. There is an introduction of subsection (5) to Section 8 (containing four subsections in the old) of the act, which addresses the appointment of secretaries and other staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The proposed amendment seeks to penalise any INEC official who knowingly refuses to disclose his political affiliation before being employed by the commission. The penalty is a fine of N5million, an imprisonment of at least five years or both.
Basically, prospecting INEC officials have to state the party they belong to before being employed by the commission. How does this help me & you?
2. There is Section 38 in the old, which covers the failure of nomination by a party and mandates the commission to postpone the election dates for this reason. The amended version includes a new subsection (2) which makes postponement of election unnecessary once there is at least one valid nomination by a political party.
This is very logical, as long as there is one legal nomination, the election can go on.
3. There is also Section 44, which states that INEC must ensure that ballot papers contain the symbols of the political parties. The amended version inserts of new subsections 3, 4, 5 which, in a nutshell, state that political parties must be invited to inspect their identities and show whether they approve or disapprove of their of how they are represented on the electoral materials after two days of invitation, any party that fails to honour the invitation shall be deemed to have agreed with symbols of its party as presented.
Very Logical too, go & inspect what your symbol looks like.
4. Section 49, which addresses the issues of ballot paper, confirmation of voters’ names. The amended version seeks the inclusion of Subsections 1 and 2, which recommend the use of card reader and other technological devices in elections.
To reduce irregularities during the election, this means the card readers failure should be a thing of the past.
5. Section 53, which addresses the question of over-voting and stipulates that the results of a polling unit where the number of votes cast exceeds that of registered voters should be declared null and void. The proposed amendment states that the results should be cancelled when the number of votes cast exceeds that of ACCREDITED voters.
Number of votes exceeding the number of accredited voters, story of our lives
6. Section 63(4) of the “old” electoral act addresses the issue of counting of votes and forms. This subsection says the presiding officer should count and announce the result at the polling units. The amended version to this subsection strikes out COUNT and simply states that the presiding officer should announce the result.
I have a MAJOR problem with this amended version, why shouldn’t the officer count vote at the polling unit?