The Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC,has issued new sets of rules regarding the counting of votes based on the advice of its lawyers and other stakeholders working closely with INEC. The new guidelines for the conduct of the 2015 general elections and manuals for election officials 2015 are as follows:
1)At the close of voting, the presiding officer shall :
(i) cancel all unused ballot paper by crossing them.
(ii) sort the ballots at two levels as follows:
(a)sort all wrongly deposited ballots and transfer them with their appropriate ballot boxes.
(b)sort out the ballots by party and thereafter LOUDLY count the votes scored by each party in the presence of the polling agents and observers.
(2) Sorting Procedure: there shall be two levels of sorting namely:
(i) sorting for wrongly deposited ballots.
The Presiding Official shall:
(a) starting with the house of Representatives, sort out all wrongly deposited ballots.
(b) transfer the ballots deposited in the wrong box, to their appropriate ballot boxes.
(c) return the other ballots into the ballot box.
Repeat steps a, b and c for Senatorial and Presidential elections
(ii) Sorting by Party.
The Presiding Officer shall:
(a) starting with the House of Representatives, sort out the ballots into separate piles for each party and one pile for rejected ballota.
(b) sort out the ballot papers by party and thereafter LOUDLY count the votes scored by each party in the prsence of the polling agents and observers.
(c) write the word ‘REJECTED’on the front of every rejected ballot.
(d) show all rejected ballots to the polling agents and observers present.
(e) where any objection against such a rejection is raised by a candidate or polling agent , write the word ‘rejected but objected to’ in the front of the ballot.
(f) count and record the quantity of the rejected ballots andtheir serial numbers on form EC 40 B
(g) put all rejected ballots in envelope EC50A
(h) count and record the quantity of tendered ballots on form EC40F(Tendered ballot statement).
(i) put all Tendered ballots in the envelope provided.
Follow steps a-j above in the case of Senatorial and Presidential elections.
Follow the same procedure above for the sorting and counting of ballots for the governorship and hose of assembly election, beginning with the house of assembly elections.
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-Lai Mohammed(Nigeria’s Information Minister on IPOB)
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