Is Electronic Transmission of Election Results a Game Changer?
In 2020, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) established a result viewing portal (IReV) to provide the public access to Polling Unit election results as soon as they are finished. This relative real-time publishing of election results was part of the Commission’s commitment to transparency in results management, which for many years has been of primary concern to election stakeholders. IReV involves scanning or photographing Polling Unit result sheets (Form EC 8A) once they are completed and verified and then uploading the pictures to a dedicated backend server. At the front end, the portal allows members of the public to create personal accounts and log-in details with which they can gain access to all uploaded results stored as PDF files. The introduction of IReV has increased public confidence in results management. At the same time, it offers wide-ranging opportunities for public information based on data directly sourced from the portal and backed by in-depth analysis. The real-time publishing of polling unit-level results and transmission of results using the IReV demonstrates INEC’s commitment to transparency in results management.
The Electoral Act 2022 confers legality on electronic accreditation of voters and electronic transmission of results. The Act also mandates INEC to maintain and update, on a continuous basis, a register of election results to be known as the National Electronic Register of Election Results. The electronic register is a distinct database or repository of polling unit results, including collated election results for each election conducted by the Commission across the Federation. The legitimacy of electoral outcomes has greatly improved due to the new provisions in the Electoral Act 2022.
INEC deployed the IReV for the 2022 Ekiti and Osun governorship elections. Polling unit-level results were uploaded on the portal as part of INEC’s policy on electronic transmission of results. Yiaga Africa and Channel Television launched an Election Result Analysis Dashboard (ERAD) to support INEC by providing the public with access to analyzed election results from the polling unit in relative real-time. To achieve this goal, the Election Results Analysis Dashboard was embedded within the election-day broadcast of Channels Television. By tracking results from the polling units based on the Commission’s own published results, the ERAD operates as an independent audit and integrity test assessment tool for INEC’s election results management.