THE IMPACT E-VOTING ON ELECTORAL SYSTEM OF NIGERIA A STUDY OF BURUKU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF BENUE STATE.
Democratic government and organizations world over must have mechanisms for polling their members. Traditionally elections have served as the official mechanisms for people to express their views to their governments, while surveys have augmented elections as unofficial. In both surveys and elections, privacy and security are usually desired, but not always simultaneously achievable at a reasonable cost. Mechanisms that serve that ensure the security and privacy of an election administrators and inconvenient for voters. Conducting secure and private elections can become even more difficult when voters are geographically distributed.
Due to the rapid growth of components networks and advances in cryptographic techniques, electronic polling is now a viable alternative for making many non-governmental elections and surveys, and it is likely to become viable soon for governmental elections as well. It is in this view that the researcher choose to observe the possible impacts of electronic voting on electoral systems in Nigeria. Electronic voting over the internet can be convenient for voters with easy access to networked computers, even if the voters are geographically distributed.
In addition, the electronic surveys and elections can be in-expensive to administer. However, if not carefully designed, electronic polling system can be easily compromised, thus corrupting results or violating voter’s privacy.
1.1 Background of the study
Shortly after AV, Rubin’s cast doubts on the security of electronic voting systems, the only trade association representing the world spectrum of the world leading US IT (United State Information Technology) urged e-voting companies to unite.
The Information Technology Associations of America (ITAA) does media work, publishes and lobbies at the state national and international levels on behalf of its more than 400 U.S cooperate and 50 foreign IT associations members. It has its own political committee, the ITAA, NET, PAC, focused on regulating tax and other legislative issues important to the computer and telecommunications industries. Accenture, advanced voting solutions, Dell, Debold, ES, and S, Hart, intercivic, Northrob Grumman, Segnoia voting systems, Unisys and Vote here are all the ITAA members.
ITAA director of enterprises solutions, Michael Kerr, wrote and submitted on ITAA e-voting industry coalition draft plan to relevant members companies.
The coalition plan over all goals are to:
- Compile a list of people eligible to vote
- Check the credentials of people attempting to vote and allowing only those who are eligible and who have not already voted to proceed.
- Collect the voted ballots
- Count the voters
- Create confidence and trust in the election industry
- Promote adoption of technology based solutions for the election industry.
- Repair damage done by negative reports and media coverage of e-voting.
To do so, the plan advocates to outreach to the media, elected officials, those involved in the purchasing decision, academics, the general public, international counterparts and the government contractors (in that order) to promote electronic voting as the gold standard to which all should aspire, specific proposed activities including lobbying, carrying out surveys, holding focus groups networking at conferences, publishing, collaborative research on non-competitive issues and developing on industry code of ethics.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Elections in Nigeria have been faced with the challenges of in-security and lack of privacy creating doubts and questions on fairness of the election.
Buruku local government of Benue state is not exceptional in this regard. The elections conducted in the local government since its creation has lacked security, privacy and confidence of the electorates thus, the merit of the elections questioned by the masses.
This research wishes to attribute the questionable nature of these elections to the electoral system in existence. This study therefore is to investigate the reasons behind the questions of in-security and lack of privacy by voters during elections, and to investigate so as to identify whether electronic voting can be a good alternative to replace the existing system, and whether e-voting can impact positively or negatively on the electoral system of the country in general and Buruku local government in particular.
The researcher also concern herself to knowing if the services for electronic voting are available to all Nigerians eligible to vote, and also to ascertain whether e-voting can provide the security and privacy lacking in other electoral systems.
1.3 Research Questions
During the research process, the researcher has these questions in mind to address.
i. What are the challenges of electronic voting technology over manual techniques.
ii. Is the electronic voting a most ideal method of voting?
iii. How can eligible voters participate in election through electronic voting technology
iv. How does the electronic voting technology influence the electorates
v. What are the benefits of electronic voting?
1.4 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is:
a. To design an e-voting system that will create a successful electioneering process.
b. To find out whether the electronic voting technology is beneficial to the electoral and electorates
c. To ascertain the warm acceptance of e-voting technology to the society.
d. To make findings on how e-voting possess challenges to manual or traditional voting techniques.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The place of election in modern democracy is very pivotal that democracy can not propel effectively without periodic elections. The spread of democracy around the world has been a significant achievement of the present times, with election sitting at the heart of this, making possible the act of self determination envisage in the chatter of United Nations.
Every one as a matter of right has the right to take part in the government of his country. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government. This shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections through universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secretes vote or by equivalent free voting procedures as stated by Article 21, Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.
If the consent of the governed in the most fundamental concept of democracy, its most essential right is that of citizens to choose their leaders in free, fair and regular elections. The right to elect one’s representatives and influence the political foundation, without free and fair election, there is neither the possibility of citizens to express their will nor the opportunity to change their leaders, address wrongs, or protest the limitation of their individual’s political rights. They are the ongoing representation of the consent of the governed.
While openness and accountability are considered the corner stone of a democratic system, the act of casting a vote and the content of the ballot are usually an important exception, because if that is a fact, this research work is very significant as it looks forward to device an electronic means that will ensure the security and secrecy of the content of voters ballots.
More so, because of the fact that incumbent government and other non-governmental entities can interfere with the traditional method of election through physical force, verbal intimidation or fraud which can result in improper casting of votes or counting of votes, the researcher sought to proffer an alternative means that will be devoid of harassment, intimidation, fraud and physical forces. Therefore, the researcher sees e-voting as an idea means for free and fair election.
The research is also significant as the recommendations of the researcher after the research work would go a long way to forming the basis for further research on the nature of elections in other local government areas in Benue state and Nigeria at large and the electoral means that will curb abnormalities in Nigerian elections in a view to having a democracy that will be people centered and oriented.
Like any other study of this nature, this research has some limitations.
The study is limited to some selected council wards in Buruku local government out of the thirteen wards that make the local government. This limitation is due to time and financial factors.
1.7 Definition of Terms
> Election: an act of choosing or selecting a candidate who will represent people of a country in a parliament and in other positions in government.
>Democracy: a system of government in which all qualified adults citizens share the supreme power directly or through elected representatives.
> Ballot: it is a vote recorded on a shit of paper
> Data: it is a collection of raw facts that has been processed.
> e-voting: electronic voting
> Voting: a formal choice that one make in an election
> Technique: it is a particular way of doing something especially one which involves learning special skills.
> Design: the art of drawing plans on how something will look like.
> Implementation: to make something happen officially
> Security: the act of protecting something against danger
> INEC: Independent National Electoral Commission. An organization charged with the responsibility of organizing and conducting peaceful election in Nigeria.
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