IEBC dismisses reports that election Bill seeks to return to manual transmission

Vote counting at St Xavier’s Primary School polling centre in Nakuru on August 8, 2017. [File, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has termed erroneous media reports that the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022 seeks to scrap livestreaming of election results and return to the manual voting system.

In a statement on Friday, IEBC said the Bill does not propose any amendment to Section 44 of the Elections Act that provides for the use of an Integrated Elections Management System for voter registration, identification and results' transmission.

“The media reports that the Bill, seeks to scrap livestreaming of poll results, ban the live broadcast of poll results and return manual voting are erroneous and a misrepresentation of the Bill as tabled before the Parliament,” said the statement.

IEBC clarified that the Bill proposes a complementary mechanism for result transmission to address instances where transmission of results is not possible because of poor internet coverage.

“The Bill seeks to align with the ruling of the Supreme Court in the 2017 Presidential Election that election results are what is contained in the Form 34A which is the primary document and final result recorded at the polling station.”

The Bill also seeks to delete the provisions of the Elections Act that were annulled by the High Court in the Katiba Institute case where the Court declared void some of the provisions of Sections 39 of the Act.

According to IEBC, the ruling in the Katiba Institute case means the results process and the standard by which elections is to be determined by the Court does not exist hence the need for the amendment to cure the gap.

IEBC said the counting and announcement of results at the polling stations will be done transparently.

Political heat

The Bill, which was tabled in the National Assembly on Wednesday by Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, raised political heat after it emerged that it will return the manual transmission of election results last used in the 2007 General Election.

While disowning the Bill, Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael said if adopted, it will allow massive vote-rigging and negate gains made by the 2010 Constitution in electoral reforms.

Kenya Kwanza leaders accused the government of trying to change the law to rig in Azimio la Umoja candidate Raila Odinga.

However, National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed declared the Bill a clawback on the electoral reforms, saying the manual system of tallying is open to manipulation.

“We are not supporting the elections amendment Bill that is taking us back to the manual system of tallying which is open to manipulation and errors,” he said.