BVAS: The need for INEC to rebuild confidence in the electoral system
The Bimodal Voter Accreditation Machine (BVAS) has become a controversial topic following its ineffective usage during the presidential election.
The electronic gadget is designed to verify Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and facilitate biometric verification of voters’ fingerprints and facial recognition.
Its proposed implementation in the 2023 general elections was met with skepticism, with some arguing against its adoption altogether, though INEC consistently gave an assurance of how the tech would change the political landscape for good.
However, the calls were renewed after February 25th election, were there was an outcry about the failure of the machines to perform effectively in many polling units, leaving many feeling disenfranchised.
This was toppled with INEC’s inability to upload the results from the units using the BVAS machines as earlier promised.
Many accused INEC of covering up alleged manipulation of the Presidential election in which Bola Tinubu of the ruling APC, was declared winner.
While many court cases were initiated about the credibility of the polls, and the aforementioned challenges, INEC announce that it needed to reconfigure the machines for the governorship election, which the court of appeal gave it the go ahead.
Despite trying to clarify that BVAS can only be activated on the specific date and time of an election, “Having been used for the Presidential and National Assembly elections on 25th February 2023, it is necessary to reconfigure the BVAS for activation on the date of the governorship and State Assembly elections,” Festus Okeyo, INEC’s spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday, March 8.
Difference between formatting and reconfiguration
Many are mixing reconfiguration and reformatting, which are two different functions that serve different purposes when it comes to computer systems.
Reconfiguration involves changing the settings or configuration of your device’s hardware or software to optimize its performance or to adapt it to a different environment. This process may involve modifying hardware components such as the central processing unit (CPU), memory, or storage devices, or changing software settings such as adjusting network settings, updating drivers, or changing the operating system.
On the other hand, reformatting involves wiping the entire storage device of your computer and installing a fresh copy of the operating system.
Definitions will, however, not dissuade those that believe the system was manipulation.
Thus, restoring trust in the electoral system requires more than just promises of adjustment.
The proper implementation of the BVAS could help avoid further erosion of public confidence.
This must be done with caution to avoid jeopardizing the credibility of the electoral system.
The BVAS has the potential to enhance the accuracy of voter identification and reduce the possibility of electoral malpractice. Still, it must be adequately tested and deployed to ensure that it functions optimally without technical glitches.
INEC must work to address concerns about the effectiveness of the BVAS, including issues surrounding data privacy and security, before its adoption in the upcoming elections.
Writing by Annabel Nwachukwu; Editing by Saadatu Albashir