NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – All the 290 constituency and 47 county tallying centers will be equipped with backup satellite dishes to aid in results transmission in the event mobile network fails.
In his State of Election Preparedness Address at the National Tallying Centre (NTC) at the Bomas of Kenya Friday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati said satellite technology will be used to guard against failure in results transmission and expedite processing.
“The Commission together with the Communications Authority of Kenya and telecom companies must work together to ensure the results transmission system works,” he stated noting that the IEBC will use the network infrastructure of all the three telecom providers in its 40,833 polling stations to minimize the risk of mass failure.
Chebukati also said that all Presiding, Returning Officers, as well as constituency and county managers, have undergone the requisite training on election management with particular focus on the operation of the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) kits.
The devices which have an inbuilt dual-SIM capacity will also minimise down times by selecting the strongest network available in a polling station for results transmission.
“The Commission has acquired a primary and secondary data centers to mitigate the risk of systemic failures triggered by technical hitches while relaying results to the national tallying centre,” he noted.
He also assured the media and international observers gathered at the NTC that tests have been ongoing to ascertain the state of the KIEMS gadgets with a test simulation involving all stakeholders set for Monday.
According to Chebukati, once tallied at the polling stations, results for the presidential election shall be filled on Form 34A before being scanned and sent to the constituency tallying centre.
At the constituency level, the results shall be tabulated before being filled in a Form 34B which will be scanned and transmitted electronically to the NTC.
The commission will then collate all results submitted through Form 34Bs from the 290 constituencies which will then be filled on a Form 34C after authentication before the presidential results are declared.
According to Chebukati, the IEBC will have in place six collation teams to quicken the process of summing the final tally.
The Commission also ruled out the possibility of ballot stuffing assuring that it will remain transparent in the utilisation of all the presidential ballot papers printed.
“Our team in Dubai accompanied by civil society, media and representatives of presidential candidates including NASA has shared a packaging list of the 290 pallets of the presidential ballot papers this will help in verifying the cargo departure from Dubai to Nairobi,” said Chebukati.
Stringent measures have also been put in place to ensure the number of ballots used conforms to the voter turnout as reported electronically by the KIEMS tablets.
“On arrival, a thorough monitoring and audit of all ballot papers to be used during elections will be done. We shall take note of ballot serial numbers at the national warehouse, at the constituency and polling stations and reconcile them after voting,” he said.
“I want to assure you that unlike in the past, the ballots will have features that will make it impossible to duplicate or prone to ballot stuffing,” he further assured.
The Commission has also put in place safeguards to ensure that voters whose fingerprints cannot be detected using the KIEMS are not disenfranchised while at the same time protecting the integrity of the process.
“About 5,300 voters will vote alphanumerically as their biometrics cannot be identified. They shall only vote after all agents approve,” he said adding that such voters will fill a Form 32 for proposes of validation.
The Commission has also put in place measures, according to Chebukati, to pre-empt cyber security threats.
An undisclosed “hot site” is also in place to provide back up in the event the primary network is interfered with.
The commission will have a 360,000-strong staff countrywide during the poll day who have undergone a two months training in readiness for the General Election.