1.0 MEANING OF VOTER REGISTRATION
Voter Registration is a process through which those qualified to vote are identified and included in a list called the register of voters. They are then issued with voters’ cards, which entitles them to vote during elections.
2.0 SIGNIFICANCE OF VOTER REGISTRATION IN THE ELECTORAL PROCESS
A credible voters’ register is a prelude to free and fair elections. Voter registration helps to facilitate the credibility of the electoral process by preventing multiple voting as each person is only allowed to register once. With this, no one is allowed to register at multiple centres. It helps in preventing cases of underage voting because only adults of voting age (18 years and above) are registered.
3.0 FEATURES OF THE REGISTER OF VOTERS
The register contains the following information about the voter:
The residential address of the registrant
The passport photograph of the registrant
The names of the voter, beginning with the surname followed by other names
Other information such as sex, date of birth, occupation, registration centre details, etc.
4.0 WHY REGISTER
It is important for adults i.e those who are 18 years and above to register because the electoral law specifies that only those whose names are in the voters list are qualified to vote during elections. In other words, whoever intends to exercise his or her civic rights on Election Day must register as a voter. Then he or she will be able to vote for candidates for elective positions.
5.0 QUALIFICATIONS TO REGISTER AS A VOTER
A person shall be qualified to be registered as a voter if he/she;
Is a citizen of Nigeria
Has attained the age of eighteen (18) years and above
Is ordinarily resident, work in, originate from the Local Government Area, Council, Ward covered by the registration centre
Presents himself/herself to the registration officers of the Commission for registration as a voter
Is not subject to any incapacity to vote in Nigeria.
6.0 HOW, WHEN AND WHERE TO REGISTER
The registration of Voters is by Direct Data Capture (DDC) system. The eligible person physically presents himself to the official in-charge of the registration centre where he intends to register. The registering officer may demand from the applicant certain information necessary to determine his identity and eligibility. This is usually done through questioning. The officer, if satisfied by the information so provided, then enters the applicant’s names and other particulars in the Direct Data Capture (DDC) device, issues a temporary voter’s card to the registrant and marks his right thumb nail with indelible ink to prevent him from double or multiple registration.
The law empowers INEC to carry out the continuous registration of voters at any suitable period. It means that INEC is to register new voters, compile maintain and update the register. The dates and timing of continuous voter registration are determined by the Commission. Registration of voters and the update of voters’ list must stop at least thirty (30) days before any election.
Registration of voters is carried out at centres designated by INEC. The essence is to bring the registration exercise as close to the voter as possible.
7.0 VOTER REGISTRATION PROCEDURE
The procedure for Voter Registration is as follows:
A person wishing to register as voter must appear in person at the registration centre approved by the Commission and nearest to his/her place of residence and where he/she intends to vote on election day.
Registration usually commences at 9.00am and closes at 4.00pm. The Direct Data Capture (DDC) device is used to capture the biometrics (photograph and fingerprints) of the prospective voter.
At the registration centre, prospective registrants are invited to approach the Assistant Registration Officer to enroll their details into the DDC device.The officer ascertains the eligibility of the registrant. Where in doubt, the registrant is requested to produce a document that could prove his/her identity and age such as, Birth or Baptismal Certificate, National Passport, Identity Card or Driver’s License. In addition, the registrant’s first name, initial (or other names), surname, date of birth, gender, residential address and occupation are entered into the system.
The registrants photograph is taken and the fingerprint/thumbprint recorded. After this, the officer will give a Temporary Voters Card to the applicant. The temporary voter’s card will be replaced with the Permanent Voter’s Card at a date to be announced by INEC. After this, the Applicant leaves the registration center and he/she is requested to return the following day for claims and objections.