The Independent National Electoral Commission says it will work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021.
INEC disclosed this in a document released on Monday in Abuja, which was tagged, “Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic”, and signed by its Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu.
The electoral umpire decried the rising cost of elections in the country, saying it would be liaising with the National Assembly to see how political parties can nominate replacements for dead representatives in line with a Supreme Court judgment that votes belong to the parties and not individuals.
The commission said it will not only pilot the use of e-voting machines at the earliest possible time after the forthcoming Edo and Ondo governorship elections, but will also work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021.
It added that voters without face masks would be disallowed from voting in the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
The commission said, “The most immediate challenge that COVID-19 poses to the electoral process is health related.
“For the elections in Edo and Ondo, INEC also said face masks would be made compulsory for voters, electoral officials and everyone else at all election locations.
“Polling unit areas shall be redesigned to ensure substantial compliance with established protocols such as social distancing.
“In order to accommodate additional activities in setting up the PU due to COVID-19, polls shall now commence at 8.30 am and close at 2.30 pm,” the commission also said, adding that personal protective equipment and other safety materials shall be provided for polling staff.”