A presiding officer in Malamai Registration Area, Madodi Local Government Area, Kano State has been seen helping voters cast their votes.
In a video posted by Channels TV on its Twitter handle, showed the presiding officer collect a ballot paper from another person, held the man’s hand to the indelible ink, and impress the finger onto the ballot.
He then proceeded to stamp and sign the ballot paper.
A presiding officer in Malamai Registration Area,, Madobi Local Government Area, Kano state is seen helping the voters cast their votes.
A party agent shows his displeasure with the arrangement. However, voting continues#NigeriaDecides #Nigeriadecide2023 pic.twitter.com/w6LJV9ixsM
— Channels Television (@channelstv) February 25, 2023
What does the law and INEC procedure say about this?
According to INEC, these are the procedure for voting;
- Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) shall be used to verify you (voter) as the valid owner of the PVC of the you presented. Either fingerprints or face will be used for the verification.
- After a successful verification, a poll official will check for your name in the Register of Voters and tick it.
- Indelible ink will be applied on the cuticle of your finger.
- A stamped, signed and dated ballot paper will be issued to you.
- If the BVAS fails to recognise your fingerprints as well as facial photograph, you will not be allowed to vote.
- You will go to the voting cubicle to mark your choice on the ballot paper in secret.
- Ensure the ink is inside the box next to your choice and does not smear other parts of the ballot paper
to avoid your vote being rejected.
- The ballot paper should be folded vertically.
- You are not allowed to take photograph of the ballot paper when in the voting cubicle.
- You will drop the marked ballot paper into the ballot box in full view of all present.
- After casting your vote, you are free to remain 300 metres from the polling area to witness sorting, counting and announcement of result, provided you are orderly and do not disrupt the process.
Is this a disobedience to the law?
Yes, provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 clearly shows that the actions of the presiding officer is not accordance with the law.
50 (1) Voting at an election under this Act shall be by open secret ballot.
50 (3) A voter on receiving a ballot paper shall mark it in the manner prescribed by the Commission.
What if the voter in question is visually impaired?
There is a possibility that the voter in the video is visually impaired, and has relied on the presiding officer to help him cast his ballot.
Again, the electoral act was clear on what happens in such a scenario;
54 (1) A voter with visual impairment or other form of disability who is otherwise unable to distinguish symbol or who suffers from any other physical disability may be accompanied into the polling unit by a person chosen by him or her and that person shall, after informing the presiding officer of the disability, be permitted to accompany the voter into the voting compartment and assist the voter to make his or her mark in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the Commission.
There are facts about what happened at this polling unit that a 51 seconds video cannot provide.
The presence of people that look like political party agents has stripped the man’s ballot of its secrecy as stipulated by the law.
He could very well be visually impaired, and came to the unit without a helper as required by law and therefore had to depend on the presiding officer.
The party agents may have been there to ensure that the presiding officer help the man cast the vote for the political party he stated he wanted to vote for.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur