Bharat Electronic Limited, an Indian firm, has visited Lagos on the invitation of Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Governor of Lagos, to demonstrate the operations of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).
A mock election was carried out with 22 “voters” voting for two electoral positions being contested by six and seven candidates at the Banquet Hall, Lagos House, Marina.
At the end of voting, the “electoral officer,” Mr. Sumara Kumar, General Manager of Bharat Electronic Limited, lifted the machine and pressed the result button which now displayed the voting processes including the number of voters and the score by each “candidate”
Kumar explained that the case of double voting or alteration of figures was eliminated by the machine adding that the Electronic Voting Machine has also shortened the time between Voter Identification and registration and release of voting results in conventional voting system, while fielding questions from newsmen after the exercise.
Voting with the EVM eliminates processes like issuing of ballot papers to voters, indelible ink marking on voter’s finger, stamp on ballot paper by voter and folding and dropping of ballot paper into ballot box among other processes, he added.
Kumar also explained that the machines are portable, easy to operate, tamper-proof and feature over 36 hour battery life.
Some of the features of the electronic voting process were clearly exhibited such as the prevention of people from having the opportunity to engage in multiple voting through the vigilance of the electoral officers.
On the ability of the machine to spot people with intention to engage in multiple voting, Kumar said the machine does not presently have provision for fingerprints detection but added that this could be incorporated into it pointing out that in both India and Namibia where it has been deployed, the electoral commissions had succeeded in preventing multiple voting through their vigilance.
He said currently each of the machines could be procured for $1000 and that its adoption by Nigeria would lead to a drastic reduction in the cost of funds expended in organising elections.
On the possibility of data being lost through the vandalism of the machine, Kumar said the software could save data on the machine and could be recalled much later from the memory as it is tamper-proof.