Kenya voting to go modern

August 12, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – The next General Election in Kenya could be conducted electronically, according to the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC).

Speaking at the opening of the National Conference on Electoral Reforms on Wednesday, IIEC Chairman Ahmed Isaack Hassan said a Kenyan team will be heading to India next week to study how the machines are used.

The conference is intended to provide an opportunity to deal with electoral inconsistencies, among other things.

“The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has agreed to assist the Commission to send a team of Commissioners to study the system of electronic voting in India. The State of Maharajah is conducting its state elections and we will be very happy to study that model, alongside other models available in the world,” he said.

The three-day conference is themed "Setting the Electoral Agenda for Kenya".

Meanwhile, Electronic Corporation of India General Manager Dhaladhuli Rao said electronic voting machines are tamper proof and can tabulate results within four hours.

“(With this system) there are no invalid votes, no counting errors, nobody can cite wrong tabulation of votes – the system is perfect. It has been proven on the field both in India, Botan and the Nepal,” said Mr Rao.

A single unit costs a little over Sh21,000 and contains a battery pack that can last for 48 hours. He told Capital News that 105 units were used to cater for India’s 714 million registered voters in this year’s general election.

At the same time, the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission will begin nationwide tours next month to familiarise itself with the country’s boundaries.

Chairman Andrew Ligale said their work will set the pace for genuine democratic reforms in the electoral process.

He intends to start the preliminary provincial tours soon after the National Census and thereafter be able to hold countrywide public hearings where Kenyans give their views on the composition of existing boundaries.

“We reiterate that it is our intention to give this exercise our best shot so that hopefully at the end of the exercise, the boundaries….will connect Kenyans in attaining peace harmony and prosperity,” he said.


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