Kenya embraces technology in 2017 General Election
By Our Reporter
For the first time in the history of her General Election, the Republic of Kenya effectively employed the use of technology to relay results of the just concluded General Election. The country went to the polls on August 8, 2017.
With an expected 19 million voters registered in this Election, the country witnessed a huge voter turnout in most of the polling stations. According to the national electoral body, there were 19,611,423 registered voters in Kenya.
Using the Integrated Electoral Management System, the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) kept a digital database of all the registered voters. This made it possible for all Kenyans of a voting age to check their voting status at the comfort of their mobile phones. This was achieved by voters sending their identification document number to 70000 via all mobile platforms used in the country.
This SMS platform would give Kenyans such details as their polling centre, polling centre code, polling station, name of county, constituency and ward among other details. This made it easy for voters to locate their actual polling centre as well as save time for voters who would otherwise have been forced to spend long hours trying to locate their polling centres.
For those who had to walk long distances in the past in a bid to access their voter registration details from their respective constituency electoral offices were saved the hustle by this technology.
Few hours after the close of the voting process on August 8, 2017, many Kenyans were once again able to track the poll results via a digital platform hosted by the IEBC website. The www.public.rts.iebc.or.ke made it possible for Kenyans to access the results for all the Presidential, Gubernatorial, Senatorial, Women Representative, Member of Parliament and Member of County Assembly results countrywide. The system was easy to use and navigate provided one has internet connection.
The platform, however, does not give users a ‘search’ option in case one wants to search for the results of a specific candidate.
Besides the online portal, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has also been doing periodic press briefings every three hours to update media and the public on the progress of the voting, tallying of results as well as any other election-related updates.