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Explainer: What you need to know about IEBC KIEMS kits

By David Njaaga - Aug 9th 2022

The Court of Appeal's recent order suspending manual voter registration as a backup during voting allowed for the full use of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMs) in today’s General Election.

However, only a few Kenyans understand how the device works or what might cause it to malfunction during the voting process.

According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Commissioner Abdi Guliye, the commission settled for the device for the 2022 General Elections despite its technological failures in 2017 as a result of the device's high cost.

“We want to reuse the technology that was used in 2017 to reduce the cost of electoral technologies in 2022. We are keen as a commission on reusing what we have and that means servicing the technology and paying for licenses to ensure they are updated,” Guliye said in a previous webinar on election forums ahead of the 2022 General Elections.

Here are some facts you need to know about IEBC's KIEMS kits.

One is required to produce their original Identification card or passport once at the polling station.

The KIEMS system will electronically identify you through its automated poll book known as the Electronic Voter Identification (EVID) system. It is made up of a laptop that is attached with a fingerprint reader and a handheld device with an in-built fingerprint reader.

The system identifies voters biometrically and seeks to curb impersonation during the voting exercise making sure only those that had been registered are allowed to cast their votes.

The KIEMS also has a system that will enable presiding officers to present and transmit results to observation centers through specially configured mobile devices.

The mobile phone devices aid the simultaneous transmission of tallied results to the constituency, county, and national final tallying centers.

The device does not allow election officials to transmit results with figures more than registered voters at any polling station. This implies that there will be no successful attempt to manipulate poll results if the results transmission system works.

The efficiency of the electronic results transmission system relies on connectivity and with nearly a quarter of polling stations in the country having network accessibility challenges, the commission has said there are satellite devices across all the 290 constituencies to tame the challenge.

KIEMS also has the Biometric voter registration system that was used to electronically capture voters’ facial images, fingerprints, and civil data. It creates information that supports a voter’s identification on the polls day.

The kits are fitted with high-capacity internal batteries as well as portable power banks to get you through the voting and transmission process.

Each kit has two cards and in polling centers, network priority is given to IEBC's SIM cards.

According to IEBC, the SD cards used in the exercise are also contingency-encrypted for data security.

 To authenticate the identity of the Presiding Officer handling the kits, digital signatures in the form of fingerprints are also used.

Furthermore, the kits employ QR scanning to identify and validate election forms that have been assigned pre-defined unique QR codes.

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