In an attempt to prevent any form of vote-buying during the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission has said that it is looking at the possibility of making the process of voting more secret.
This disclosure was made by the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahood Yakubu, in Abuja on Wednesday when some Civil Society Organisations led by popular artiste, Charles Oputa, aka Charly Boy, visited the headquarters of the commission.
The INEC boss lamented that there were reports of vote-buying in Anambra, Edo and the recently concluded governorship election in Ekiti State.
He however blamed the development on the fact that snatching of ballot boxes and other violent forms of rigging had become almost impossible.
The INEC boss also said the Electoral Act recommends an open secret ballot system which allows voters to cast their ballots publicly.
Yakubu, however, said the commission was exploring the possibility of changing the process of voting without breaking the law.
“First, we must look into the administration of our polling unit, particularly the place where we place the voting cubicle where the citizens vote and the place where we keep the ballot box. Remember the law says it is an open secret system.
“You vote in the cubicle but have to drop the ballot in the open. So, we learnt from experience from previous elections like Edo, Anambra but it wasn’t as pronounced in Ondo. However, we had complaints in Ekiti. As we move to other elections, we will see what we can do in that respect.”
“From the 2015 elections, we have about seven million cards uncollected and by the time you add 11.8 million so far to the seven million, you will end up with close to 20 million cards uncollected. So, we will have to suspend the registration at a point, make the cards available and work with groups to ensure that citizens collect their cards before the 2019 elections.”