Tuesday, 24 February 2015

How The Card Reader Can Be Fooled


The card reader has been hailed as the antidote to election rigging in emerging democracies. It has been extensively used in a number of emerging democracies in Africa with positive reports of its contributory role in stemming election rigging.

The card reader, however, has its limitations even as Mr. Kayode Idowu, the chief press secretary to Prof. Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC said in an interview with Vanguard.

Though the card reader cannot be fooled by a PVC, it, however, would fail when all the human components in the polling unit agree to disregard it or conspire against the device.

“The way INEC has designed the Card Reader, it will only take a community conspiracy for the system to be manipulated and if that happens there is nothing anybody can do about it and it will not be the fault of INEC because it is designed in such a way that it is unique. Number one it has a voice propt which will speak out loudly from the speaker if a voter is accredited or not the moment the finger print is placed on it.

What it then means is that for there to be any manipulation at the polling centre, all the people there including the agents of the political parties, the observers and INEC staff will be in agreement to subvert the process in favour of one political party.

Human components

The human components of the polling process at the unit include the voter, the political party agents who are there to protect the interests of their candidates, election observers, security agents and journalists.

All of them would have to agree to disregard the prompt of the card reader on the validity or otherwise of the PVC to enable a voter to proceed to vote or not.

Even if they all disregard the card reader where it is detected that someone has presented a card not belonging to him and he is allowed to vote, the card reader would only transmit the number of those who passed its biometric verification to the central server.

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