The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has been sued over its decision not to use the manual register during the August 9 General Election.
Seven civil society organisations moved to the High Court seeking to compel the Wafula Chebukati-led commission to use both manual and digital registers.
The petitioners are Kenya Human Rights Commission, Katiba Institute, Kenyan Chapter of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)-Kenya, Haki Yetu, Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi, Africa Centre For Open Governance (Africog), and Constitution and Reform Education Consortium.
Through their lawyer Fidelis Limo, the seven argued that IEBC cannot guarantee that its electoral technology will not fail on August 9.
“The second respondent (IEBC) arrived at the afore-stated administrative decision in clear violation of the provisions of the law and in particular Section 44A of the Elections Act which provides for provision of a complementary system of voter identification using the manual register of voters,” argued Limo.
According to her, the only guaranteed backup is a manual register that should correspond with the data in Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) kits.
The lobby groups argue IEBC has to date failed to comply with the 2017 Supreme Court judgment requiring it to ensure all polling stations are connected to a 3G/4G network.
“Further to the decision of the Supreme Court in the 2017 Presidential Petition No 1 of 2017, the first and second respondents have not taken any measures to guarantee that there is a working and reliable 3G/4G network connectivity and that technology shall not fail,” said Limo.
“The first and second respondents have not implemented the 2017 Supreme Court judgment at all.”
IEBC had stated that voter identification will be done electronically in the forthcoming elections and there will be no book with voters’ names at every polling station as has been the case in the past.
It means that voters have to use their fingerprints as the primary method of identification in a method known as biometric identification.
Voters who fail will use their names or identity card numbers as alternative methods of identification. This is what IEBC calls alpha-numeric identification.
Those whose names will not be found will not be allowed to vote. In the past, electoral officials would have used the printed register – also called the black book – to identify voters.