Project 2011 Swift Count (PSC), a coalition of four Nigerian civil society groups from across the country, has released two preliminary reports on voter registration based on reports from approximately 1,000 observers who were deployed across all of Nigeria's 774 local government areas.
PSC will monitor all aspects of the election process, and has started observing the voter registration process, which began on Jan. 15 and is scheduled to run through Feb. 5. The observers conducted a comprehensive observation during the first two weeks of voter registration. According to PSC, the beginning of the voter registration period was "fraught with registration centers not opening, equipment problems, and procedural challenges (such as problems with the scanning of fingerprints), which were to a significant extent addressed within the first week," but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is gaining momentum from what was initially a slow start. Among the reports' findings:
- By the end of the second week, 93 percent of registrations were opened by noon, 66 percent had all essential registration materials and 86 percent remained open through the day.
- The equipment used to capture voter information worked in 46 percent of the observed registration centers on the first day of registration and improved to 79 percent by the second week.
- Eleven percent of registration centers witnessed underage registrations, and 8 percent saw people being permitted to register even though they were not from the community.
PSC was formed to deter fraud and help restore public trust in Nigerian elections by monitoring the process and verifying the official results of Nigeria's general elections scheduled for April. NDI is providing technical support to PSC on the conduct of the swift count. PSC will release another report at the end of the registration period.
Many Nigerians hope that scheduled presidential, parliamentary and local elections will mark a turning point for their country. Though elections have been held every four years since the end of military rule in 1999, they have been progressively marred by egregious and pervasive fraud, making each poll less credible than the previous one. Dissatisfaction with the last elections, held in 2007, resulted in extensive violence that led to more than 200 deaths and diminished citizen confidence in democratic institutions and processes.
- Read the first interim report»
- Read the second interim report»
- Coalition to monitor vote for better elections in Nigeria»
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Pictured above: PSC members at headquarters take reports from observers in the field.
Published January 28, 2011. Updated Feb. 1, 2011.