ELECTION PREPAREDNESS

Rights groups want IEBC ordered to open voter register

Katiba Institute and Africog tell court the agency has refused to avail the register for inspection

In Summary
  • They rights groups say voters could turn up at closed polling stations because of the commissions failure to notify the public of moved or closed polling stations.
  • They also say Section 6 of the Elections Act requires IEBC to open the register of voters for inspection by members of the pubic for a period before the election.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati addresses the press on Wednesday, June 8, on the status of the election register.
CLARITY: IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati addresses the press on Wednesday, June 8, on the status of the election register.
Image: IEBC /TWITTER

Two rights groups now want the court to compel the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to open the register of voters for inspection before Tuesday polls.

In a petition filed in court, Katiba Institute and Africog said IEBC has refused to avail the register for inspection or to publicise any changes to the register of voters to the public.

“The petitioners were only able to obtain a copy of the register upon paying Sh100,000, an amount which all voters interested in inspecting the register cannot possibly afford,” reads court papers.

Through lawyer Dudley Ochiel, they have told court they are concerned that voters could turn up at closed polling stations because of the commissions failure to notify the public of moved or closed polling stations.

“Worse, IEBC’s failure to open the register of voters for inspection violates the constitution, particularly free and fair elections administered in a transparent, efficient, accurate and accountable manner as guaranteed in law,” Ochiel said.

The lawyer said that in June 2022, the polls agency notified the public that it had completed revising the register.

Revising the register includes changes such as closed and new polling stations, reductions and increases in the number of voters at some polling stations and the removal of dead voters.

They said Section 6 of the Elections Act requires IEBC to open the register of voters for inspection by members of the pubic for a period before the election.

“It further demands the IEBC must prepare a list of changes to the register of voters for every constituency and post these changes at a place where the public has access to them,” reads court papers.

However, the rights group said the electoral agency neither opened the register for inspection nor publicised the list of changes to the public. So, some voters could turn up at the closed polling stations on polling day.

They want the court to issue an order directing the IEBC to prepare and publicise a list of changes to the register of voters per constituency

They also want the commission to make available the register of voters for public inspection at all polling stations, by way of public web portal, or any other medium the commission may approve per regulation 27 of the Elections Regulations 2012.

 

(edited by Amol Awuor)

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