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ELOG Chairperson Regina Opondo/CFM/FILE - Cosmus Mwongela

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ELOG roots for mail-in voting to avert COVID-19 spread

The group’s Chairperson Regina Opondo has proposed that the electoral body can adopt the electronic and mail voting as is the case in US election which he said is key to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 31 – Election Observation Group (ELOG) has asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to come up with alternative ways of voting besides in-person voting ahead of an anticipated referendum in 2021 and a general election in 2022 owing to the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The group’s Chairperson Regina Opondo has proposed that the electoral body can adopt the electronic and mail voting as is the case in US election which she said is key to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

With Kenya not having a clear legal framework for electronic and postal voting, Opondo’s proposal may however prove to be unrealistic considering the country is only NINTEEN months away from the 2022 General Election with the time factor being an impediment to its realization.

During postal voting ballot papers are distributed to electors and returned by post, in contrast to electors voting in person at a polling station or electronically via an electronic voting system.

Opondo who was making the group’s observation following the conduct of the just concluded by-elections in the country lauded the commission for a job well done.

“E-Day processes of opening, voting, closing, counting, tallying and announcement of results were generally conducted in line with the laid down procedures,” she said.

She also commended the commission for setting up the necessary protocols which were aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.

“The Commission should however, ensure that these protocols are not breached as was observed in some parts of the polling stations. Further, members of the public should strictly follow these protocols to safeguard lives,” Opondo appealed.

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She at the same time maintained that the integrity of the electoral process is key in the realization of credible, peaceful, free and fair elections in Kenya this even as she urged Kenyans to continue adhering to the COVID-19 protocols especially when casting their ballot in the forthcoming by-elections.

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