Sunday, January 13, 2013

IEBC opens voter register

By BENJAMIN MUINDI bmuindi@ke.nationmedia.com

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Saturday opened the voters’ register for public inspection. The register will remain open for scrutiny until January 26.

To confirm voting registration details, one can either send the national identity card or passport number to the short text message code 15872, or visit one’s registration centre, IEBC communications manager Tabitha Mutemi said.

You can also visit the IEBC website http://vote.iebc.or.keand key in the ID or passport number to access your details, Ms Mutemi said.

The name of the voter, county, constituency, ward and station in which they are registered will be displayed in any of the platforms.

Ms Mutemi asked voters to visit their respective polling stations in case the details supplied in the SMS or the IEBC website are wrong.

The IEBC used the biometric voter registration kits to enrol voters. The system is expected to yield the cleanest register Kenya has ever had since independence. This is expected to prevent multiple voting and ghost voters (usually people using documents of dead Kenyans) to raise the number of votes for candidates.

The voters’ list will also be accessible to political parties. And, in an attempt to ensure the integrity of the voters register, the commission will release the names of people who registered using fake documents and those who registered more than once.

The names of the individuals, who face arrest, will be deleted from the record.

IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan said the commission opted to issue an SMS number for checking voter details after they found that 60 per cent preferred this method while only 10-15 per cent would go to voter registration centres to verify the information.

Rift Valley Province has the largest number of registered voters at 3,373,853 out of the 14.3 million national tally.

Central was second with 2,190,477, Eastern (2,092,883), Nyanza (1,954,756), Nairobi (1,778,908), Western (1,434,987), Coast (1,164,083), and North Eastern (347,457).

Mr Hassan said the information obtained from the process would be used solely by the commission.

“A commission’s biggest asset is its register. It is what we use to ensure the integrity of elections and we certainly would not want to misuse that data in any way, shape or form. We are independent from the government. If the government wants to have similar data, it will have to implement the Integrated Population Registration System. It will not get data from the IEBC.”

Earlier there were fears that the data would be shared with the police.

The IEBC has also procured 30,000 poll books – handheld electronic devices that will be used to identify voters at the polling stations on March 4.

The devices will be used to confirm the details of the voters before they enter a polling station to cast their ballots.

After elections, the results will be transmitted in real time.

“Although we will announce the final results much later, people will know early in advance through electronic transmission of the results. At least people will have an idea by the close of the day,” said Mr Hassan. “But these are provisional results.”

At each polling station, there will be a form where each candidate’s representative will sign before we announce the final results, he said.

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