A working knowledge of how to vote during elections is germane in making our votes count. This article would do justice to make you understand the voting procedures during an election. Remember that you are qualified to vote if:
- You are 18 and above
- You are a registered voter
- And your name appears on the voters’ register at your polling unit.
Polling units on election days are expected to open for Accreditation and Voting from 8:00am to 2:00pm. However, voters on the queue before the close of poll at 2:00pm will be accredited and allowed to vote.
THE VOTING PROCEDURE
Voting at the polling unit will be as follows:
Step 1: Present yourself to the INEC Official (APO 111) for the polling unit who will determine whether you are at the correct polling unit and check if the photograph on the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) matches your face. If satisfied, then he/she directs you to the next official (APO 1).
Step 2: APO 1 will request for your PVC to confirm that your card is genuine and your details, using the Smart Card Reader. He/she will ask you to place your finger on the Card Reader to confirm that it belongs to you.
NOTE: If the Smart Card Reader does not confirm your finger prints but your other details are correct, do not worry, the official will direct you to the Presiding Officer who will report this by filing a form (the incidence form) and you will be allowed to proceed to the next step.
Step 3: You will meet the next official (APO 11) who will request for your PVC to confirm that your name and details are in the voters register. Your name will be ticked and your PVC returned to you. He/she will then apply indelible ink to thee cuticle of your appropriate finger for that election to show you have been accredited to vote.
NOTE: If your name is not found in the register,, you will not be allowed to vote.
Step 4: The Presiding Officer (PO) stamps, signs his/her signature and date at the back of the ballot paper. The PO will fold ballot paper vertically with the printed side inwards and give to you. He/she directs you to voting cubicle where you vote in secret.
Step 5: You will stain your appropriate finger for the election with the ink provided than use your stained finger to mark the space or box provided on the ballot paper for your preferred candidate/party. Fold the marked ballot paper vertically (in the manner the PO gave you).
Step 6: Then leave the voting cubicle and drop your ballot in the ballot box in full view of the people.
Step 7: You will then leave the polling unit or wait if you choose in an orderly and peaceful manner.
YOUR RIGHTS AS A VOTER
On each Election Day, you have the right to:
- Access the polling station
- Receive information on the voting procedures from the poll officials
- Vote in secret.
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE VOTER
- Obey all lawful instructions from the INEC and Security Officials on election duty.
- Leave the polling unit or wait if you choose in an orderly and peaceful manner.
- Encourage other voters to do likewise.
Follow these procedures; know your rights and act responsibly during electoral processes and you would experience a smooth election process.