VOTER REGISTER

Lobby groups wants IEBC to use manual register

They also argue that the commission has not published the register of voters yet.

In Summary

•The seven lobby groups want the court to order IEBC to provide a manual register of voters in every polling station in Kenya to be used on August 8 to identify voters.

•“If there is nationwide or polling station technological failure, then affected Kenyans will not be able to exercise their political rights to vote in an election,” they argue.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati addressing the press on Wednesday, June 8, on the status of the election register.
FILE IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati addressing the press on Wednesday, June 8, on the status of the election register.
Image: IEBC /TWITTER

Several lobby groups have challenged the decision of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to rely on KIEMS as the only mode of voter identification in the August polls.

In a petition filed in court, the seven lobby groups want the court to order IEBC to provide a manual register of voters in every polling station.

They argue that the decision made by the commission and its Chair Wafula Chebukati is not only in violation of the Statute but also susceptible to massive failure which can lead to the ultimate postponement of the general elections.

The lobby groups include the Kenya Human Rights Commission, Katiba Institute, Kenyan Section of The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)-Kenya and The Africa Centre For Open Governance.

It is their further argument that Chebukati arrived at the impugned decision in clear violation of the provisions of the law and in particular Section 44A of the Elections Act which provides for the provision of a complementary system of voter identification using the manual register of voters.

They also argue that the commission has not published the register of voters yet and it's the same Register of voters that is preloaded on the KIEMS Kit through their data registration database.

“The KIEMS has to be functional with reliable/stable internet connectivity for it to be able to load the register of voters, and then proceed to identify a voter’s bio data at the polling station using either the fingerprint or the alphanumeric search,” reads court documents.

They have faulted the exclusive use of KIEMS saying its issues go beyond the availability of network connectivity saying some voters have distorted fingerprints or don’t have fingers.

“The fingerprint sensor cannot work for voters with distorted fingerprints or those who do not have fingers, and in the event of failure to identify a voter manually, reliance shall be made on the alpha numeric search mode,” they argue.

According to court papers, KIEMS can only access the voter registration database when it has network connectivity but the commission has not taken any action to implement the decision of the Supreme Court 2017 presidential petition.

“If there is nationwide or polling station technological failure, then affected Kenyans will not be able to exercise their political rights to vote in an election,” they argue.

It is their further argument that IEBC has a duty to ensure that there is network connectivity in all polling stations

“No measures have been taken by the 1st and 2nd Respondent to guarantee that there is a working and reliable 3G/4G network connectivity and that technology shall not fail in all the polling stations,” reads court papers.

They claim that in March this year, IEBC issued a statement saying 11,000 polling stations lack 3G mobile network coverage and in June they stated that over 260 polling stations lack 3G

“IEBC admits that whereas we are 49 days to the general elections 1,111 polling stations do not have network connectivity, and they have shifted the blame to the Communications Authority of Kenya,” they claimed.

It’s their argument that the impugned decision abandoning the use of the manual register shall bar eligible voters from exercising their right to vote either on account of lack of fingerprints or technological failure.

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