The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Anambra State would tomorrow (Saturday) at Igboukwu Ward I, Aguata Local Government of the state, conduct a field test of the   
Card Readers meant for the forthcoming election.
Anambra state is one of the states selected by INEC to test run the Card Readers that would be used for the forthcoming election.
Briefing newsmen yesterday on the planed field test of the machine, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Edwin Offor Nwatarali said the exercise would commence by 8 am and end by 1 pm.
Nwatarali said Igboukwu Ward I was chosen by the Commission for the field test because it has the highest number of PVC collection, noting that out of 8,033 registered voters in the ward, 7,976 have collected their cards, represent over 90 per cent collection, just as it has the feature of both urban and rural areas.
He said, “We are planning to field test our card readers, you all know that card reader is a new innovation in our electoral process. In accordance with internationally accepted practice, we are going to field test the card readers as a pilot, so that we can learn lessons that will be incorporated in future use of card readers.
“We have selected Igboukwu Ward I as the focal point of the test. That means that all registered voters in Igboukwu Ward I, Aguata Local Government in Anambra state are invited to come out with their PVCs on Saturday the 7th of March, 2015 so that we can field test these card readers and know if there will be problems that will come out from the testing, so that we resolve them before the general election coming on the 28 of this month and 11th of next month.”
The REC made clear that INEC was not conducting mock election saying, “We are not conducting mock election, it is important to differentiate what we are doing from mock election. Mock election has to do with ballot papers, people casting votes and all that, that is not what we are conducting on Saturday, 7th of March, what we are conducting is field testing of our card readers, so it will end at accreditation.
“Prospective voters who come with their PVCs will be accredited using the card readers. First, we will check whether the card you have brought is an INEC card, second we authenticate your finger print to confirm that you are the true owner of the card you have brought and thirdly, if per chance you did not pass the second stage electronically, there will be a manual register where your facial features will be checked against the card, after that your index finger is inked and the exercise ends. There will be no ballot casting, there no collation of figures, there will not be declaration of any result.”   
He added that the Commission had at last Friday recorded 86.5 per cent collection of the PVCs which translates to about 1.6 million PVCs that have been distributed.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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