…rules electronic transmission of results
Independent National Electoral Commission, on Wednesday, ruled out use of branded face masks at polling centres and electronic transmission of results in the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
INEC announced its revised guidelines in its quarterly consultative meeting with the media, which held virtually for the first time.
The electoral umpire earlier held virtual meetings with leaders of 18 registered political parties and civil-society groups ahead of the September 19 and October 10 polls in Edo and Ondo states.
INEC National Commissioner in charge of Operations, Okechukwu Ibeanu, said that while masks would be allowed as part of public-health protection measures, people wearing branded face masks would be turned back.
He said, “Wearing of face mask at Polling Units and all election locations is mandatory. Please make provision for your own face mask.
“Face masks must be worn at all times, but an election official may request you to lower your mask for proper identification when necessary and anyone that is symptomatic to COVID-19 would be isolated immediately.”
Ibeanu added that INEC had no means to provide face masks at polling units for the 6.4 million voters expected at the polls as such material would cost it N640million at N100 per mask.
He also said no laws backed electronic transmission of results from both elections yet.
According to him, “The commission has suspended the continuous registration of voters at least for now due to COVID-19 and would collapse some collation centres into one as well as collapsing the registration area centres (RACs).
“Voting starts by 8.30 am and stops at 2.30 pm. There shall be two queues formed at each polling location (Polling Unit or Voting Point). The first queue (the outer queue) will be outside, from which an election official shall bring voters into the voting area in batches. The second queue (the inner queue) will be formed in the voting area.
“By 2.30 pm, an election official shall stand at the end of the outer queue indicating that the queue is closed. Any voter on the outer queue by 2.30 pm shall be allowed to vote. Queues must be orderly and voters on a queue must maintain a distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from each other.”
The INEC commissioner also said that any voter exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 such as high temperature, coughing, sneezing, among others, would be asked to leave the queue or voting area and be attended to by designated officials.
He further requested voters to ensure that they go away with their used protective materials like face masks and hand gloves, urging them not to litter the polling units with them.
He also reminded voters that cell phones or any other device that can take pictures are still not allowed in the voting cubicles would not tolerate assault of any election official as culprits risk prosecuting.