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This is why it will be almost impossible to steal this year’s elections.

A voter casting her ballot at the Thika Stadium Hall during the recent Jubilee Party nominations.
It will be very hard for anyone to double-vote or anyone who is not a registered voter to cast any ballot in the August 8 election if tamper-proof technology being applied by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is anything to go by.

According to the IEBC, 45,000 the Kenya Integrated Elections Management Systems (KIEMS) kits will be used in all the 40,883 polling stations across the country, each of which has unique features that will make double voting, ballot stuffing, and irreconcilable voting patterns impossible.

The KIEMS technology has two main functions in this election namely the biometric identification of voters on the Election Day and the results transmission after counting the votes. All voters in this elections will be identified biometrically to close the doors for possibility of any unauthorised people from voting.

No polling station (previously the streams in a poling centre) will exceed 700 registered voters and each one of them will be allocated one KIEMS Kit. Each will be manned by 6 polling clerks to ensure all goes well. There will be some additional queuing clerks (1 clerk for every 1,500 voters) to assist the voters in identifying their polling stations.

Immediately after the last voter casts their ballot, the ballots will be counted and the presiding officers, in the presence of party agents, will type the total number of votes garnered by each candidate into the kit. They too are required to reconcile the number of voters recorded by KIEMS as having voted and the number of ballot papers issued.

The kit aggregates the results automatically and the total number of votes cast for all the candidates is recorded. It is able to identify abnormal voting patterns and in cases where the number of voters exceeds the total number of registered voters, the kits will automatically reject the results. This measure will effectively makes ballot stuffing impossible.

The kit shall equally report turnout trends periodically throughout the day.

As an additional measure to guarantee the integrity of elections results, the presiding officer shall scan Form 34A using the KIEMS kit. The Form 34A is signed by both the presiding officer and party agents. Once scanned, the presiding officer shall, together with the text results, send the same to the national tallying centre and constituency tallying centres.

This means that the IEBC has two procedures that minimise the risk of ballot stuffing. One, the voter turnout as recorded by KIEMS. Two, the ballot papers reconciliation that happens at the end of voting. The number of ballots papers issued and the records of voter turnout as registered by KIEMS should be able to reconcile.

No alterations of results.

Once the presiding officer has pressed the “Submit” button, the results cannot be changed by anyone. Using an encrypted format, the results shall then be transmitted to the tallying centres through a secure network in real-time.

The public will be able to view the results online. Similarly, Media will have a dedicated connection to access real-time results as well because the KIEMS have a unique in-built audit trail. The in-build audit trail enables the commission to collect all the kits and to retrieve records from the SD cards for any analysis at the end of voting. This in-built accountability tools implies that the process of voting can be subjected to objective scrutiny at any point in time after voting.

Network problems.

The degree of success or failure in identification of voters and transmission of votes depends entirely on the network infrastructure and the capacity of presiding officers to use the technology.

The IEBC will be using satellite devices in areas with network problems to increase network coverage for purposes of the General Election. Otherwise, presiding officers are allowed to move to where there is network coverage in order to transmit the results. In the worst case scenario, the presiding officer together with the agents may have to travel all the way to the constituency tallying centres to transmit results from there. 

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