A Critical Examination On The Problem Associated With The Use Of Electronic Voting Machines During The 2023 Elections

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

A Critical Examination On The Problem Associated With The Use Of Electronic Voting Machines During The 2023 Elections


Abstract


This study was carried out to assess the problem associated with the use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections using Ikorodu Local Government, Lagos  State, Nigeria as a case study. The study was specifically carried out to determine the extent  electronic voting machines were adopted  during the 2023 elections, identify the challenges which affected the effective use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections, and determine the extent ineffective use of electronic voting machines affected the credibility of 2023 elections. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprises of residents who participated in the 2023 general election in Ikorodu Local Government, Lagos  State, Nigeria. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 160 respondents and 141 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables. The result of the findings reveals the extent electronic voting machines were adopted  during the 2023 elections was high. Furthermore, the study also revealed that the challenges which affected the effective use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections includes: insufficient supply of electricity, malfunction of the BVAs, inadequately trained personnel, and cloning of voters’ card. Therefore, it is recommended that extensive and Intensive training of man power personnel who will handle the BVAs or its equivalent perfectly well in the future election. Electronic accreditation of permanent voter cards of the electorates should be included in the Nigeria Constitution to address the issue of legality of BVAs or its equivalent in our future elections since Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the creation of law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. To mention but few.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The presence of a flawed election system is a significant contributing factor to unhealthy political rivalry among candidates vying for power, ultimately resulting in instances of electoral violence (Naija, 2015). The electoral process in Nigeria is marked by a multitude of challenges. One of the primary issues identified is to the absence of names for some individuals who are registered voters. There are concerns about the intimidation and disenfranchisement of voters, instances of repeated and underage voting, as well as incidents involving the theft or destruction of ballot boxes. However, there are allegations of miscomputation and fabrication of election results (Punch, 2015). The presence of a flawed electoral system serves as a catalyst for the occurrence of election-related violence, which in turn has significant ramifications in terms of undermining the public’s faith and confidence in the democratic process. The occurrence of electoral frauds may be attributed to some politicians and partisan electoral officials who take advantage of the vulnerabilities present in the conventional voting system, leading to negative outcomes in the election process (Amenaghawon, 2015). The combined impact of various irregularities, such as the presence of severely flawed voter lists, the misuse of incumbency power, and a lack of transparency, as well as the actual or perceived bias of election officials leading to instances of real or perceived fraud, serves to incite election-related violence. This violence has significant consequences, as it undermines the trust and confidence that individuals have in the democratic process (Punch, 2015). The scenario elucidates the occurrence of a rising trend in acts of violence, including instances of homicide and physical harm. The current conventional paper ballot method of voting demonstrates a deficiency in key elements necessary for a legitimate election, including transparency, accountability, free and fair play. Moreover, it is susceptible to human mistake and manipulations. The pursuit of a viable voting system in Nigeria has been a prominent and urgent objective, prompting endeavours for improvement, including the current exploration of electronic devices as a potential solution. Scholars specialising in Information Systems (IS) and practitioners of democracy argue for the utilisation of diverse technologies in order to enhance democratic practises. The integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with election processes, such as the adoption and spread of e-voting, has been shown to result in substantial enhancements to democratic practises in diverse democracies worldwide. The aforementioned phenomena had a significant impact on Nigerian policy makers, prompting them to thoroughly consider the feasibility of using electronic voting systems in public elections. According to Jega and Hillier (2019), the head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) argues that there is a global trend towards the greater use of technology in order to ensure the credibility of electoral processes. The concept of Electronic voting, sometimes referred to as E-voting, is an initiative undertaken by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the aim of enhancing the scientific, empirical, refined, and well-organized engagement of individuals in electoral processes. The primary objective was to ensure the inclusion of voters’ preferences, enhance the credibility of elections, promote principles of freedom, fairness, transparency, and reliability. As a result, the use of this system will significantly decrease the occurrence of electoral fraud and manipulation that was prevalent in prior manual voting procedures. Nigeria, as a sovereign state, became a member of the international community with countries like Ghana by adopting the E-voting technology and equipment during the recently ended general elections on April 14. This adoption included the introduction of the biometric permanent voters’ card (PVC) and card reader devices.When effectively implemented, electronic voting solutions have the potential to eliminate prevalent fraudulent practises, expedite result processing, enhance accessibility, and enhance convenience for citizens. In certain instances, when employed across multiple electoral events, these solutions may even lead to a long-term reduction in the costs associated with elections or referendums. Regrettably, not all electronic voting programmes are able to fulfil the lofty expectations they set out. The existing electronic voting system is not devoid of issues. Certain situations have presented legislative and technological obstacles, while in other instances, there has been a degree of doubt or resistance towards the use of novel voting technology. The substantial difficulties associated with e-voting are closely tied to the intricacies of electronic systems and processes. Numerous electronic voting technologies exhibit a deficiency in transparency, both from the perspective of voters and election officials. The comprehension of most e-voting systems is limited to a few group of professionals, while the integrity of the electoral process mostly depends on a tiny cohort of system operators rather than a multitude of poll workers. The introduction of e-voting, if not meticulously planned and handled, has the potential to erode trust in the whole of the political process. Hence, it is essential to allocate sufficient time and money towards the contemplation of its implementation, while also examining past instances of electronic voting. Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to critically examine on the problem associated with the use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections.


1.2  Statement of the Problem

The performance of the current conventional paper ballot method of elections in Nigeria is likely to be challenged by a range of variables, which may diminish its relevance. The arduous physical landscape of some villages poses a significant obstacle to the prevailing conventional voting method in Nigeria (Oderemi, 2015), as it hinders the efficient distribution of election materials, hence presenting considerable obstacles. The conventional method of conducting elections with paper ballots necessitates the physical transportation of individuals (voters and election officials) as well as election materials to designated polling stations and collation centres for the purpose of casting votes, counting them, and determining the final results.

In addition, the dissemination of election results by conventional modes of transportation has other vulnerabilities, including the potential for assault by politically motivated individuals, disgruntled party members, or manipulation by unscrupulous officials seeking personal gain. The presence of these limiting constraints has a detrimental impact on the efficacy of the conventional paper ballot method, hence raising concerns about the ongoing viability of its widespread use. Additionally, the use of electronic voting options has been made possible due to the compilation and communication of results via electronic means (Jega & Hillier, 2019). Electronic voting methods exhibit basic differences. In order to uphold the need of safeguarding the confidentiality of the electoral process, it is necessary to ensure the complete dissociation between the identity of the voter and the specific vote they have cast. This is a significant difficulty, since conventional information and communication technology (ICT) systems are fundamentally designed to facilitate the tracking and monitoring of transactions occurring inside its infrastructure. Significantly, severing the connection between the voter and their vote implies that the post-election analysis of an electronic voting system lacks the ability to definitively establish that each vote was accurately recorded and counted in accordance with the voter’s intention.  The importance of indirect evidence, such as paper trails or system certification, in conjunction with rigorous quality control and security measures, lies in their ability to validate the accuracy of electronic outputs. In the absence of such controls, the potential for manipulated or inaccurate outcomes generated by an electronic voting system to go undiscovered for an extended duration is significant.

It is in the light of these that the study seeks to critically examine on the problem associated with the use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to critically examine on the problem associated with the use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections.

Specifically, the study will;

  1. Determine the extent  electronic voting machines were adopted  during the 2023 elections.
  2. Identify the challenges which affected the effective use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections.
  3. Determine the extent ineffective use of electronic voting machines affected the credibility of 2023 elections.

1.4 Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following questions

  1. What is the extent  electronic voting machines were adopted  during the 2023 elections?
  2. What are the challenges which affected the effective use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections?
  3. To what extent ineffective use of electronic voting machines affected the credibility of 2023 elections?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • Ho: There are no problems associated with the use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections.
  • Ha: There are problems associated with the use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections.

1.6 Significance of the Study

A critical examination on the problem associated with the use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections will be revealed to the government at various level, politicians, electoral bodies and media houses. Also, the findings will enlighten Nigerian populace on the effectiveness of the voting machines and how to use it. Furthermore, this research will be useful to media house to disseminate information to  a large population regarding the benefits and risks of using the EVM.

Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to a critical investigation on the impact of electronic voting machines on electoral fraud during the 2023 general election.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is boarded on a  critical examine on the problem associated with the use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections Theoretically, the study will determine the extent  electronic voting machines were adopted  during the 2023 elections, identify the challenges which affected the effective use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections and  the extent ineffective use of electronic voting machines affected the credibility of 2023 elections. Geographically, the study will be delimited to people in Ikorodu local government, Lagos  state, Nigeria.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

In quest of carrying out this research work the researcher was not able to carry out this work in a more conclusive standard due to the following limitation.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Electronic Voting Machine:

Is a tool for making the electoral process more efficient.

Voting:

An activity of choosing someone or something in an election.

Elections:

A formal and organized choice by vote of a person for a political office or other position.


1.10 Organization of the Study

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, abnd selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter (chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the problem associated with the use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections using Ikorodu Local Government, Lagos  State, Nigeria as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was to assess the problem associated with the use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections using Ikorodu Local Government, Lagos  State, Nigeria as a case study. The study was specifically carried out to determine the extent  electronic voting machines were adopted  during the 2023 elections, identify the challenges which affected the effective use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections, and determine the extent ineffective use of electronic voting machines affected the credibility of 2023 elections.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 141 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent were residents who participated in the 2023 general election in Ikorodu Local Government, Lagos  State, Nigeria.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concluded that;

  1. The extent electronic voting machines were adopted  during the 2023 elections was high.
  2. The challenges which affected the effective use of electronic voting machines during the 2023 elections includes: insufficient supply of electricity, malfunction of the BVAs, inadequately trained personnel, and cloning of voters’ card.
  3. The ineffective use of electronic voting machines affected the credibility of 2023 elections.

5.4 Recommendation

From the findings of the study, the following recommendations are made:

  1. Extensive and Intensive training of man power personnel who will handle the BVAs or its equivalent perfectly well in the future election.
  2. Electronic accreditation of permanent voter cards of the electorates should be included in the Nigeria Constitution to address the issue of legality of BVAs or its equivalent in our future elections since Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the creation of law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
  3. Timeliness: the proximity of the election must be considered before the test run and the issues identified must be addressed before the general election.
  4. The BVAs or its equivalent in our future election must be scrutinized by the expert to ensure that the issue of non-activation of the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card does not occur again. Coincidentally, the inbuilt security installation should be decoded by the INEC engineers or experts to avoid malfunctioning of the machine.

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