IEBC Wants Shorter Poll Transmission Procedure

The IEBC is working on far-reaching changes to the electoral laws to seal rigging loopholes in the announcement of presidential poll results ahead of the 2017 elections.

The electoral agency wants the presidential election results declared at the polling stations and the crucial Presidential Results Declaration Form 34 scanned and emailed by presiding officers to the National Tally Centre immediately it is completed.

Currently, presiding officers deliver Form 34 to the constituency Returning Officers who in turn transmit them to the county Returning Officers for physical delivery at the National Tally Centre for verification, before presidential results are announced.

The declaration at the National Tally Centre is done by the IEBC chairman, the presidential elections Returning Officer.

The IEBC director in charge of Voter Registration and Electoral Operations, Immaculate Kassait, yesterday said that, if enacted, the prposal will enhance the credibility of election results while at the same time averting unnecessary court petitions.

“The commission is considering having Form 34 scanned and sent from the polling centre, so that Kenyans do not have to wait for three days to have the actual form at the National Tally Centre,” she said.

She was speaking when she appeared before the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee probing the procurement of the electronic devices used in the 2013 general election.

She said the move would be an expensive venture, but one that will restore public confidence in the election results management system, especially the declaration of presidential results.

“The country will ultimately pay more for this, but that is the price we must pay for integrity. The cost of elections in this country is not going to be any cheaper,” she concluded.

The opposition Cord, led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, has been pushing for the declaration of presidential results at the polling centres by presiding officers as part of a raft of recommendations to address electoral fraud.

She was taken to task by committee members who wanted to know her role in the procurement of the controversial Biometric Voter Registration kits. Kassait said the delay in the BVR purchase disrupted the normal schedule of the electoral operations calendar.

“My work is largely advisory and the decision-making responsibility lies with the commission. I did warn that the delivery of the BVR kits had been delayed by close to nine months. The delay was suicidal to the expectations of Kenyans,” she said.