The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) plan to conduct a ‘mock’ election to publicly test run its Smart Card Reader (SCR) machines has been revealed.
Olusegun Agbaje, the Ondo State resident electoral commissioner (REC) who disclosed INEC’s plans says that the public test run is part of INEC’s efforts to demonstrate the efficiency of the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) before the scheduled March 28 presidential election, adding that the ‘mock’ election will take place in twelve states, including Ondo, Lagos and Ekiti in the southwest region.
Mr. Agbaje disclosed the commission’s plans on Tuesday at a “peace accord” meeting convened by the police in Akure, the Ondo State capital. He said the ‘mock’ election had already been slated for Saturday in Lagos and would be carried out by trained officers as a replica of normal elections. He said the idea was to determine how efficient the Smart Card Machines (SCRs) would be for the polls.
“The Commission would be making use of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and Smart Cards Readers (SRCs) for the ‘mock’ election which has already been slated for this Saturday in Lagos and Ekiti.
“The essence of the ‘mock’ election is to look at how effective the machines would work on the real election days because we have repeatedly said there is no going back on the usage of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) for the general elections,” Mr. Agbaje said.
The REC remarked that the machines, when fully charged, would work for 12 hours, adding that the commission has backups for each unit in the state. He stated that the backup machines would have fully charged batteries in case there was a need for any replacement.
He also revealed that the commission had trained 14, 851 ad-hoc staff in Ondo State. The staff would be deployed to different parts of Ondo State for the elections, he said, adding that the commission would provide a place at registration area centres for the ad-hoc staff to stay a day before the election. Mr. Agbaje stated that the reason for offering accommodation to the staff was to ensure a quick start of the process.
“[The] registration area center in all the  collation centers of Ondo State is where our ad hoc staff and security operatives would be a day before the elections.
“This would help them to move from that area on time to their respective polling unit and as well [give us opportunity] for a quick commencement of the election,” Mr. Agbaje said.
He also disclosed that 1,058,312 permanent voter cards (PVCs) had been distributed in Ondo State, representing 78.2 percent of total registered voters in the state.
He said 425,854 PVCs were still at the state office of the commission along Alagbaka Road in Akure awaiting collection. He disclosed that the distribution would continue till March 8.
It will be recalled that a Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected an application fixed by several political parties in order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from using electronic card readers in the upcoming elections.
Naij.com news – culled from: http://www.naij.com/395882-inec-to-conduct-mock-election-before-march-28.html