U.S group Carter Center is calling on the National Election Commission (NEC) to uphold and ensure free, fair, and transparent elections come October 10,2017.
The Carter Center in its press release issue over the weekend offers several recommendations on steps to increase public confidence in the election and flags a few issues that could prove problematic, including several that could be addressed prior to Election Day.
According to Carter Center, NEC should consider using all media and telecommunication options to communicate the availability of the SMS voter list verification tool to voters, which would contribute to the public’s confidence in the quality of the list and help familiarize voters with the location of their polling places.
To further its commitment to transparency, the NEC should publicly post the lists of people selected as polling station staff so that the names may be scrutinized by the community.
The NEC should continue its efforts to explain the tabulation process and the provisions for ensuring adequate access for party agents and observers, and any other safeguards it is implementing.
Further, a clear outline of the planned timetable for releasing results would help prepare political parties and the general public for the days following Election Day.
In order to assure voters that they can cast their ballots free from intimidation and that the secrecy of the vote is fully protected, all parties should refrain from gathering voter identification numbers in the time before Election Day.
In addition, the political parties and the NEC should assure voters that it is not possible to determine how a voter cast his or her ballot based on an identification number, and that persons who have collected voter identification numbers will not be able to determine how a voter cast their ballot.
The NEC should prepare itself to respond to questions about the number of voters who were allowed to vote on Election Day when they showed up with a valid voter registration card but were not on the published list.
The NEC should instruct its staff to strictly enforce the law regarding who is authorized to be present in polling places, Political parties should refrain from releasing parallel results prior to the publication of provisional results by the NEC. Further, both the political parties and the NEC should be clear in informing voters that only results reviewed and released by the NEC are official.–Press release