BVAS stands for Bimodal Voter Accreditation System.
It is a robust electronic system that uses biometric data to verify the identity of voters during elections. It works by capturing the biometric data of voters, such as fingerprints and facial recognition, which is then stored in a database.
During elections, voters are required to present themselves at a polling station, and their biometric data is verified using the BVAS system. This helps to prevent electoral fraud, such as multiple voting and impersonation and ensures that only eligible voters are allowed to vote.
With the upcoming election in Nigeria, voters need to understand how the BVAS system works in the election. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on the BVAS system, its advantages, and our responsibilities as voters.
Process of BVAS verification
Step 1: Registration
The first step in using BVAS is to register to vote. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is responsible for registering voters in Nigeria. To register, you would have to provide your biometric information, which includes your fingerprints and a photograph.
Step 2: Verification
After registering, you will need to go through a verification process on election day. This is where the BVAS system comes into play. The system verifies the vote by
- Using biometrics such as fingerprint and facial recognition
- Scanning the QR code at the back of the voter’s card
- entering the last six digits of the Voter Identity Number or the last name of the voter by the Assistant Presiding Officer (APO 1) to verify your identity and confirm that you are registered to vote.
This will ensure that only eligible voters are allowed to vote and prevent fraud.
Step 3: Casting your vote
Once your identity has been verified by the BVAS system, you will be allowed to cast your vote. You will be given a ballot paper and will need to mark your choice of candidate. It is important to follow the instructions provided by the election officials to ensure that your vote is valid.
Step 4: Counting of votes
After the voting process is completed, the ballot papers will be counted. The BVAS system will be used again to verify the number of votes cast and to ensure that the results are accurate. It would also send the collation of the results to the INEC Result viewing (IRev) Portal where all citizens can get a real-time update of the result as it is uploaded at every polling unit.
Advantages of the BVAS
The use of BVAS has greatly improved the transparency and credibility of Nigeria’s elections. In the past, there were numerous cases of electoral fraud, with reports of ballot stuffing, voter intimidation, and vote buying. However, the use of BVAS has significantly reduced these occurrences in past gubernatorial elections and has also helped to increase voter confidence in the electoral process.
- Speeds up the voting process: With the system, voters are quickly verified, and the voting process is more efficient, reducing the amount of time voters have to spend at polling stations. This is particularly important in Nigeria, where voter turnout is typically high, and there are often long queues at polling stations.
- Reduce the number of invalid votes: In the past, there were cases of ballot papers being rejected due to errors in marking or identification. However, with the use of BVAS, the system ensures that only eligible voters are allowed to vote and that their votes are accurately recorded.
Responsibility Of Voters
As Citizens and voters, we have a responsibility to ourselves, Nigeria and the Electoral commission. As it has been the custom, some general tips on how to conduct yourself at the polling unit include:
- Arrive on Time: It is important to arrive at the polling unit on time. Polling units are usually open from 8 am to 2 pm(depending on how early the voters arrive), and you should arrive early to avoid long lines.
- Bring Your Voter’s Card: You must bring your voter’s card to the polling unit to be able to vote. Without it, you will not be allowed to cast your vote. Make sure you keep your card in a safe place and bring it with you on election day.
- Follow the Instructions: There will be officials at the polling unit who will guide you through the voting process. Follow their instructions and ask for help if you are unsure of what to do. It is important to vote correctly to ensure your vote is counted.
- Respect the Officials: The officials at the polling unit are there to help you and ensure a fair and peaceful election. Show them respect and follow their instructions. Do not argue with them or try to influence their decision. Any misconduct can result in disqualification from voting.
- Be Patient: Voting can take some time, so be patient and wait for your turn. Do not rush or try to skip the line. Everyone has the right to vote, and it is important to respect that right.
- Interact peacefully: The election period can be a tense time, but it is important to interact peacefully. Do not engage in any form of violence or disruptive behaviour. If you witness any misconduct, report it to the officials immediately.
With the use of the BVAS system, the upcoming election in Nigeria is set to be fair, credible, and transparent. Follow these tips and be a responsible citizen by voting and respecting the electoral process.
Remember, every vote counts, and together we can make a difference.