Technology

How techies seek to foster election transparency

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Texcor Group's product manager Joshua Karisa. PHOTO | KABUI MWANGI | NMG

With Kenya’s General elections just a few weeks away, a Nairobi tech firm has found a smart way to assist candidates monitor electoral events and receive poll results real-time. Texcor Group Limited has developed an electoral management system dubbed E-Poll that allows aspirants’ agents to feed electoral data for live transmission to the candidates on the election day.

The platform, Texcor says, was birthed in 2015 and was first deployed during Uganda’s 2016 General elections.

“Among the notable candidates who subscribed to the service during Uganda’s election was presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi. Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform also subscribed but we experienced short comes after the government switched off the internet for a week,” says Texcor Group’s product manager Joshua Karisa.

So, how does the system work?

The technology has captured election data in terms of all polling stations found in Kenya, including the wards, constituencies, and counties that they fall within. The system also has data regarding the number of registered voters found in every given polling centre.

“This is important since it gives candidates an overview of what their targeted vote block looks like,” says Karisa.

Once a candidate subscribes to the service, a profile is created for them and login credentials shared to them. The candidate is then required to submit agents who he/she intends to deploy in all the polling centres where coverage is required.

The agents are given a quick training on how they will be feeding data into the platform for conveyance to the candidate immediately after the declaration of the results by the presiding officer.

“The polling agents will first take a photo of the results declaration form after signing and certification by the presiding officer. They will then upload the form to the system before entering the results figures separately in another provided section. The data will then sail forward to our in-house vetter who will check out for any discrepancies between the data captured in the declaration form and the one entered,” explains Karisa.

An agent can only feed data into the platform once.

In case there are any discrepancies between the two sets of data, Karisa says, the system will detect and sound an alarm. The agent will thereafter be contacted to make the necessary corrections.

Once the data is harmonised, it will move on to an admin vetter who will then cross-check before finally relaying it to the candidate.

“The entire process will take less than two minutes,” affirms Karisa.

Videos

The system allows for the uptake of visual data such as short videos and photos. This means that the poll agents will have the leeway to capture video clips of all the happenings during the election day and upload them for relay to the candidate. This includes a clip of the presiding officer announcing the poll centre results.

“If there are peculiar incidents such as voter bribery or violence, the agent is able to capture clips and upload in real-time for the candidate’s observation and this is data that could be adduced in court as evidence in the event of a legal tussle,” says Karisa.

“Data fed into the system will remain stored for as long as the candidates need it there.”