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Biometric voting machine transmission delays Nigerian governor elections

BVAS needs reconfiguring following February presidential vote
Categories Biometrics News  |  Elections  |  ID for All
Biometric voting machine transmission delays Nigerian governor elections

Governorship elections in Nigeria are experiencing technical delays. According to a government announcement, this week’s scheduled election has been pushed by a week, with the country’s electoral commission requiring more time to reconfigure the biometric voting machines that caused controversy during the country’s recent presidential vote.

The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) uses face and fingerprint scans for biometric authentication. In February, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) used them to conduct a presidential election that opposition parties disputed, and governments in the UK and EU said lacked transparency.

“This decision (to delay) has not been taken lightly,” a statement from INEC (which is no stranger to controversy). “But it is necessary to ensure that there is adequate time to back up the data stored on the over 176,000 BVAS machines from the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on 25th February 2023 and then to reconfigure them for the Governorship and State Assembly elections.”

BVAS machines accredit voters, register votes, and send poll results to an online server. While the February contest saw no problem with the machines’ authentication capabilities in matching voters to their cards, the delivery of results was delayed, prompting opponents to accuse authorities of tampering.

Nigeria’s three main opposition parties — the People’s Democratic Party, Labour Party, and African Democratic Congress — said the re-election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not reflect the wishes of Nigerians, and called for a fresh round of elections under a new INEC chairman.

INEC, however, rejected the calls, telling CNN that the results indicated a “free, fair and credible process.” It added, “we wish to reiterate that the Commission is not against litigants inspecting election materials. Consequently, it will continue to grant all litigants access to materials they require to pursue their cases in court.”

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