Voting is an essential part of democracy, and as a Nigerian voter, it is important to prepare adequately for the polls. In this article, we will provide you with a guide on what to expect and how to prepare for the polls and make informed decisions when casting your vote.
Election Day Expectations
There are a few things a voter in Nigeria should be prepared for on election day. They consist of:
Voter verification is required before votes can be cast. This entails showing the poll workers your Permanent Voters Card (PVC), who will then use a card reader to confirm your identity. When you get to the front of the line, you will hand the INEC officials your PVC for authentication. You must leave your home with your PVC since you will not be permitted to vote without it. INEC officials will scan the barcode on your PVC and enter your last name or the last six digits of your voter identification number (VIN) into the Bimodal Voter Registration System (BVAS) for validation. Your face and/or fingerprints would be scanned by the official using BVAS to verify that your biometrics match what the PVC showed on the device.
After your identity has been confirmed, a ballot paper will be handed to you. The ballot paper has the names and logos of all the parties who are participating in the election. To cast your vote, you would be given a ballot paper, which you would then take into a voting booth to mark with an ink pad. You must place the finger that has been covered in ink in front of the person of your choice after pressing your thumb down on the pad to absorb some ink. While thumbprinting, care must be taken to ensure that no ink enters another party’s box. If this happens, your vote will be thrown out, costing your candidate a key vote.
Counting and Collating.
Votes will be counted in front of party agents and observers once every registered voter who came to the voting center cast their ballot and the polls have closed. At this point, the majority of the remaining work is carried out by INEC officials and party operatives. As a result, you have the choice to leave or stay to see the votes counted and sorted. It is crucial to remember that the final outcome won’t be declared until all the results from various voting places have been combined.
On election day, voting stations are typically packed, so plan on standing in line to cast your ballot. As a result, it is crucial to bring some basic items to the voting location, including water, snacks, an inhaler (or any other form of medication you may need), headphones, power banks, a mat or foldable chair, an umbrella, and any other necessities you might require.
Basic Rules Voters Should Follow
Voters in Nigeria must go by a few essential guidelines in order for their ballot to be counted. Among these guidelines are:
Get your Permanent Voter Card (PVC).
This is a no-brainer. You have no business coming to the polls on election day if you still don’t have your PVC since you can’t cast a ballot without it. Except of course you are coming as an observer or you want to boost voters morale.
Comply with the dress code.
You need to dress appropriately on election day. Avoid wearing party-branded clothing or accessories to your polling unit. This is to make sure that you don’t give off any impressions of partisanship or bias, it may make you a target for violence. Also, remember to wear comfortable clothes because the day could be long, there will likely be a lot of waiting in lines, and there may even be some shoving (remember what happened during PVC registration and collection).
Know the candidates and parties.
Before the election, it is important to familiarize yourself with the candidates and parties running for office. Read up on their manifestos and track records to determine which party or candidate aligns with your values and beliefs.
Know your polling unit.
Knowing your polling unit is crucial to voting in Nigeria. Your polling unit is where you will cast your vote on election day. Ensure that you know the location of your polling unit ahead of election day.
There are two different ways of identifying your polling unit. The first method is via SMS. All you have to do is to text the name of your state, your last name, and the six (6) digits of your Voter Identification Number (VIN) to 09062830860 or 09062830861 to get your polling unit name. The message should be like this: LAGOS OKOYE 442233
Planning ahead for election day is crucial to ensure that you can cast your vote without any hassle. Take into consideration factors such as traffic, security checks, and waiting time. Give yourself enough time to get to your polling unit and cast your vote.
Be on time.
Polling stations have opening and closing time. Although the time might be extended due to issues like delayed verification, untrained staff and maybe violence, but it is important to arrive early to avoid long queues and ensure that you have enough time to cast your vote.
Report any suspicious activity.
If you notice any suspicious activity or behavior at your polling unit, report it to the election officials or security personnel. This will help to ensure the safety and integrity of the electoral process.
Follow the instructions of the polling officials.
The polling officials are there to ensure that the election is conducted smoothly. It is important to follow their instructions and cooperate with them to avoid any disruptions.
Do not engage in any form of violence.
Violence is not tolerated on election day. It is important to maintain a peaceful and calm atmosphere at the polling station.
Remember, your vote is your power, so use it wisely! Vote for a better Nigeria! Vote for your future!
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