INEC Nigeria: Voters Education, What You Need To Know


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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was established by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to among other things organize elections into various political offices in the country.

Steps On How To Vote

VOTING
• Voting will take place on a date to be determined by the INEC.

ACCREDITATION
• Polling units will be open from 8 am.
• Polling units will open at 8 am for Accreditation and close at 12 noon.
• Voting starts 12:30 pm.
• You must vote in the same Polling Unit you completed your Voter Registration.

THE VOTER- WHO IS HE/SHE?
• S/He is a Nigerian citizen.
• S/He is 18 years and above.
• S/He has registered in the constituency where he intends to vote.
• S/He possesses a registration card obtained during voters’ registration.

HOW VOTER CAN VERIFY REGISTRATION
• A voter is expected to check the register of voters to ascertain that his name is included.
• That his name was correctly spelt and written.
• This is done when the register is displayed for inspection.

PERSONS WHO CANNOT VOTE
• The following persons cannot vote at election.
• All persons below the age of 18 years.
• All non-Nigerians.
• All persons who did not register as voters.
• All persons who do not hold a voter registration card.
• All persons whose names are not in the voters register.

WHERE TO VOTE
• Voting takes place at polling stations/units.
• A voter is expected to cast his vote at the polling unit where his name is on the voter  register.
• A voter is expected to identfy his polling station where his name is on the voter register.
• A polling unit nearest to the residence of the voter.

HOW TO VOTE:
• Voting will be by Open Secret Ballot System.
• Your vote is secret because no one will see which candidate you choose.
• You will mark your ballot behind a polling screen secretly.
• Apply your finger print only in one circle/space which corresponds to the candidate of your choice.

PROCEDURE: PREPARING FOR VOTING:
• The Presiding Officer (PO) shall:
• Explain the voting procedure to the voters.
• Invite all voters accreditated to form a single queue.
• Where culture does not allow men and women to mingle in a queue, separate queues are created for men and women.
• The PO shall count loudly the number of accredited voters in the queue, and record the number.

COMMENCEMENT OF VOTING:
• At the commencement of voting, the PO shall:
• Invite the voters on queue to approach the poll clerk (PC) in an orderly manner.
• On presentation of voter’s card, the PC shall:
• Check appropriate cuticle thumbnail of voter and when he is satisfied that the person has been duly accredited.
• Tick the voters’ register on the right hand side of voter’s name.
• Indicating that he has voted.
• Apply indelible ink on the cuticle of the voter’s appropriate thumbnail.
• The Poll Assistant (PA) shall apply ink to the next finger of the respective hand
• Voters who have no Right/Left hand, the PA shall:
• Apply the ink to the corresponding toes of the voter’s Right/Left foot.
• Voters have neither fingers nor toes:
• Ink shall be applied on the corresponding toes of the persons assisting them.

ISSUANCE OF BALLOT PAPER AND VOTING:
• The voter shall present himself to the Polling official (PO).
• The PO  shall stamp and sign the back of ballot paper.
• Fold the ballot paper vertically with the printed side inwards.
• Issue the signed, stamped ballot paper to the voter.
• The voter moves to the voting cuticle.
• Mark the ballot paper in the space provided beside the party logo of the voters’ choice
• Fold the ballot paper.
• Deposit the marked ballot paper into the ballot box.
• Marking of ballot paper by voter must be done in secret.
• Depositing the ballot paper in the ballot box in open view of all persons present.
• Only one voter at a time to the voting cubicle.

OFFENCES ON ELECTION DAY:
PART VIII SC. 129 (1) states that:
1. No person shall on the date an election is held do any of the following acts or things in a polling unit or within a distance of 300 metres of a polling unit-
(a) Canvass for votes;
(b) Solicit for the vote of any voter
(c) Persuade any voter not to vote for any particular candidate;
(d) Persuade any voter not to vote at any election;
(e) Shout slogans concerning the election;
(f) Be in possession of any offensive weapon or wear any dress or have any facial or other decoration which in any event is calculated to intimidate voters;
(g) Exhibit, wear or tender any notice, symbol photograph or party card referring to the election;
(h) Use any vehicle bearing the colour or symbol of a political party by any means whatever;
(i) Loiter without lawful excuse after voting or after being refused to vote;
(j) Snatch or destroy any election materials; and
(k) Blare siren
“Any person who contravens any of the provisions of this section commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for 6 months for every such offence”.

Guidelines for Transfer of Registered Voters

A Nigerian has the right to live in any part of the country. An important part of voter registration is that an eligible person is advised to register at a centre nearest to him or her within the Ward  in which he or she resides. This is to make it easy for the voter to access the polling unit and vote on election day.

However, a person who relocated to another place, outside the constituency in which he registered cannot vote in his new location unless he transfers his registration. Section 13 of the Electoral Act 2010 as Amended provides for Transfer of Registered Voters.

Procedure for Transfer:

Step 1- The person who intends to transfer his registration will write an application to  INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner of the State  where he is currently residing.

Step 2- The applicant will attach his voters card to the application.

Step 3- The applicant must apply to the Resident Electoral Commissioner not later than 30 days before the date of an election in the constituency where he is residing.

Step 4- The Resident Electoral Commissioner will direct the Electoral Officer of the applicants Local Government Area to enter his name  in the transferred voters list.

Step 5- The Electoral Officer will assign the applicant to a polling unit in his constituency.

Step 6- The Electoral Officer will issue the applicant with a new voters card

Step 7- The Electoral officer will retrieve the applicants previous voters card.

Step 8- He will then send a copy of the entry to the Electoral officer of the constituency where the person whose name has been so entered was originally registered.

Step 9- Upon receipt of this entry, that Electoral Officer shall delete the name from his voters list.

Note- Apart from  State Headquarters Offices of INEC, applicants can also submit their applications at the INEC Office in their Local Government Areas. The applications will be forwarded to the Resident Electoral Commissioner for necessary action.

Replacement of lost or Damaged Voters Cards

A valid voters register with each voter having a voters card is a must to ensure that elections are free and fair.A person must possess a voters card in order to be accredited and allowed to vote during an election. The card identifies the voter. Thus the voters name can be checked easily by the Presiding Officer or his Assistant.

It is therefore important that a person keeps his voters card safely, to prevent loss or damage.

However, if a person losses his card or if it is damaged, the Independent National Electoral Commission can replace them.

The procedure for replacement of lost or damaged voters cards is as follows:-

  •  The voter shall apply in person to the Electoral Officer or any other officer duly authorized for that purpose by the Resident Electoral Commissioner.
  •  The application shall be at least 30 days before an election
  •  The applicant shall state the circumstances of the loss or damage
  •  The, he shall be issued with another copy of his original voters card.
  •   The word “DUPLICATE” will be marked or printed on it clearly.
  •  The date of issue will also be printed on the new  voters card.

Election Offenses and Penalties

  • Election is a process in which people vote to choose a person or group of people to hold an official position.
  • Election offence is a crime that breaks electoral laws and requires a particular punishment.
  • Penalty is a punishment that is given to someone for doing something which is against a law or rule.
  • Every registrant with a valid voter’s card is eligible to vote.
  • However, there are rules guiding the electoral process and anyone who violates these rules is liable on conviction to be penalized. For a full listing of penalty please click here >> ELECTION OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

INEC Citizens Contact Center (ICCC)

The INEC Citizens Contact Centre (ICCC) is a Situation Room that operates daily. For now, it will open between 9am and 5pm. Later on, the Centre will scale up to round-the-clock (i.e. 24-hour) service.

The Centre can be accessed through telephone lines, Facebook, Twitter and INEC’s website.

INEC HOTLINES

GLO: 09050858629, 09050858675, 09050858649

ETISALAT:  08180958715, 08180958717, 08180958709

AIRTEL:  09025038466, 07086945927, 08120183063

MTN: 07062896047, 08105119010, 08146697603

TWITTER: @InecNigeria

FACEBOOKwww.facebook.com/InecNigeria

WEBSTE: www.inecnigeria.org

 

Written by AnthoniaOrji

Anthonia Orji is a writer, mentor, web developer and a digital marketing professional focused on seo, content and social media marketing.