How IEBC will identify, verify voters in August 9 polls

IEBC Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati addressing the press. [Samson Wire. Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) plans to use the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) kits to identify and verify voters come August 9.

The system requires voters to use their fingerprints (biometric) for identification.

IEBC Chief Executive Officer Marjan Hussein Marjan, while meeting presidential candidates at Windsor Hotel in Nairobi on Wednesday said the commission will use principles similar to those applied in the 2017 election.

In case the aforementioned process does not work, the commission will use the Alphanumeric search- where the voter’s identification number (ID) will be scanned on its backside and use it to retrieve their true identity from the KIEMS kits. 

“The retrieved information will then be used, by having the voters scan their fingers in again for a crosscheck of their details in the Kiems kit,” Marjan said.

According to the IEBC boss, if a voter is not yet identified by the two methods then the commission will result to using the physical register and use the information from it to retrieve the voter’s data from the kits. The biometric information in the kits is a replica of what is in the physical register.

IEBC insists it will only use complimentary methods (physical register) should the first two methods of identification fail. Marjan said the use of the manual register is prone to manipulation in remote areas where there are no observers or in places where some parties enjoy a lot of support.

“The officials in these areas may use the information in the register and key it on the Kiems kit to retrieve the voter’s information and use it to cast a vote. This is something that can be exploited and therefore it can lead to people winning illegitimately,” the IEBC CEO said.

IEBC CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan. [Samson Wire. Standard]

After the identification of a voter, a clerk at the polling station will then check a voter’s name in the register, cross it out and issue the voter with form 32A. This method was used in 2017.

“When you identify voters through the electronic system, the system archives those who have voted…meaning if the said party was to turn up to cast a vote then they would not be in a position to. The system will automatically sound an alarm,” said Marjan.

“The system will maintain a count and tally of those who have voted,” Marjan maintained.

The electoral agency currently has 55,100 Kiems kits. In 2017, the commission purchased 45,000 kits. An audit of the kits revealed that 41,000 are in good condition and can be used in this year’s election.  

The commission purchased 14,100 more kits to aid in the 2022 General Election.

There are at least 46,223 polling stations spread across the 1450 wards. According to Marjan, every ward will have six backup kits.

Wednesday’s meeting was attended by Azimio’s Raila Odinga and Martha Karua, Kenya Kwanza’s DP William Ruto who arrived late in the company of Prof Kithure Kindiki, Roots Party presidential candidate George Wajackoyah and Agano’s Wahiga Mwaure.