IEBC to notify public of technology glitches during polls
By RAWLINGS OTIENO and ROSELYNE OBALA | March 8th 2017
The electoral agency will publish details of any telecommunication network service providers involved in the August polls.
This is contained in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Elections (Technology) Regulations 2017 tabled in the National Assembly last week for consideration and approval.
The agency will also alert all political players in the event of technological failures, and if they suspend or terminate the election technology if reliability of the system cannot be assured.
"The procedure shall apply to clerks, presiding officers, and returning officers.
"In case of suspension or termination of the technology, IEBC shall immediately notify the public and stakeholders on their websites as measures are put in place to restart the system," the regulations read in part.
It shall also publish details of the failures through the electronic and print media of national circulation.
The regulations not only seek to address the thorny issue of technological failures, but the role of IEBC in party primaries, voter education and access to information.
The agency seeks to put in place mechanisms that will ensure data availability, accuracy, integrity and confidentiality to mitigate against vulnerabilities in the technology and breach of security.
"This is to build public confidence in the storage, classification and sharing of data in accordance with the levels of accessibility as set out in the Access to Information Act," said IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.
The Election (Registration of voters) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 will provide for continuous registration of citizens in Kenyan prisons and Kenyan citizens residing outside the country.
"The regulations are tailored towards integrity of the register of voters by providing for revision of the voter register through removal from the register of particulars of persons who cease to meet qualifications of being voters," said Mr Chebukati.
In particular, the guidelines provide for establishment of a public web portal for public inspection of the voter register, the audit of the voter registry, operational aspects of the transmission of results and the requirement for votes to show identification documents and biometric data to be eligible to vote.
"The purpose of the regulations is to establish a regulatory framework governing the use of election technology, pursuant to section 44 of the Election Act. This includes assessment, acquisition, testing, deployment, security and sustainability of the election technology," reads the IEBC regulations.
But that is not all. Apart from the proposed technological changes in the Election (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2017, the commission seeks to provide a procedure for submission of party membership lists to ensure sanity of the political processes.
"This will encourage effective management of party lists by providing additional criteria for certification of party lists. The instrument addresses instances where complementary mechanisms may be used by the commission in identification of voters during polling," he said.
The move comes at a time when pressure is mounting on the commission to guarantee free and fair polls.
IEBC has come under sharp criticism from the Opposition over claims that it was planning to revert to manual voter identification.
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