Transiting from Manual Voting to Electronic Voting System for Enduring Democratic Governance in Nigeria: The Imperative for Digital Remedy
Keywords:Manual Voting, Electronic Voting, Democracy, Governance
The paper investigates the enormity of hitches tied to transiting from manual-based electoral systems to the electronic voting system and determine whether hurdles with the electronic voting system could be sufficient enough to prevent Nigeria from adopting it to enhance her democratic governance in the 21st century. This enquiry was prompted on the ground that there are mixed reactions from different individuals, scholars and societies that the Nigerian state is not ripe for electronic voting and as such may not be able to sustain it if it eventually steps into full adoption of electronic voting system. Therefore, they argue that the status quo ante should be maintained. However, available documentary evidence and cases drawn from other climes where electronic voting has been practised across the globe show that the cost-saving potential of electronic voting is limitless, it eliminates electoral frauds, votes are completed and submitted online, thereby saving ample time, it restricts movement, which eventually eliminates voter apathy caused by fear of violence, etc. On the other hand, most scholars are overwhelmingly inclined to the opinion that the electronic voting system is capable of exacerbating the digital divide as it is lopsided in affecting the turnout of certain groups of citizens. This implies that e-voting will favour only well-educated and wealthy people to the detriment of the downtrodden in the society. The paper however concludes that the Achilles’ heel of transiting from manual to the electronic voting system identified are tangential and could be surmounted with the passage of time through sensitization and awareness creation.