The Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has provided no convincing answers to the questions arising from the high concentration of multiple IDs in the 2017 voter register in only two Homa Bay constituencies. Follow-up questions by RoGGKenya.org editors as to what the reasons were for the accumulation in Homa Bay, and how the IEBC handled the situation during the election process on Aug 8, 2017 have remained unanswered for two months, while earlier answers are deemed to be insufficient or contradictory.
The high occurrence of multiply registered IDs in the Rangwe and Karachuonyo constituencies was unearthed in an analysis made by the Elections Observation Group on request of RoGGKenya.org in October 2018. It showed that all wards in the top ten list of duplicate IDs in the voter register are located in Karachuony and Rangwe. On a constituency level, all the top ten constituencies with abnormally high percentage of duplicates are located in only three counties: Homa Bay, Siaya, Kisumu. ELOG Analysis of multiple Use of same ID
IEBC: nothing extreme
IEBC spokesman Andrew Limo wrote to RoGGKenya: “Although there is some variance from region to region we would not consider it extreme.” But this, according to all statistical rules, is not the case. It is highly unlikely that the top ten wards would just be in two constituencies out of 290, or that the top ten constituencies would be in just three counties out of 47. It is probably more unlikely than winning the jackpot in the lottery by buying just one lottery ticket. It seems that the IEBC argumentm is meant to avoid any discussion about the abnormalities in the voter register.
As for the reasons of the Duplicate IDs in the register, Limo pointed – one year after the elections – to the responsibility of another state agency: “We are working with the National Registration Bureau to address case of duplicate serialization of identification documents.” This would imply that the National Registration Bureau had erroneously registered multiple IDs predominantly in the Nyanza region, for unknown reasons. Our media colleagues might ask the NRB about this.
Existing Voters or not?
But if true, the answer would imply that the voters existed, and only their ID numbers were wrong. Let us look at the most extreme case of one ID (No. 3524343214) that was registered with the names of at least 21 voters at Huma Primary School polling station in Kisumu-West. The question is: What happens if several of these 21 voters turned up at the polling station to exercise their right to vote?
No problem, if the KIEMS worked, and the Voters existed
Case 1, variant A: Assumed that the voters exist, their names and age etc. are correct, but just their ID number is wrong. And the KIEMS works:
First of all, according to the Elections Regulations, they would be allowed into the polling station. Their name would be marked in the printed voter registry to show they voted.
Then, if the KIEMS, the Kenya Integrated Election Management System worked in that polling station (which at that place is a tablet with access to specialized software and the voter register in it), the voter would place his thumb on the fingerprint-reader, thereby confirm his or her identity and the ballots would be given out. The multiple registered ID number of that voter would have had no negative consequences.
Contradicting statement by IEBC Officer
But this contradicts what Homa Bay Town constituency returning officer Kipruto Yegon has written in an email to Andrew Limo in an email that was forwarded to RoGGKenya by Limo: “Please note that voters with double IDs were in a different list and did not vote.”
That leads us to Case 1, variation B: Some of the existing registered voters enter the polling station at Huma Primary School, but, due to that separate list and their identical IDs, they are denied their constitutional right of voting. With this high number of multiple voters on one ID number, this would probably have lead to noisy complaints, and a scandal at those polling stations. We haven’t heard of any scandal like this. This leads to the logical assumption that the chain of arguments of the IEBC staff is contradictory in itself and cannot reflect the truth.
The possible Path to Rigging
There is a Variant C of Case 2: Wrongly registered voters with same ID numbers are let in, but the KIEMS is not working. In this case Regulation No. 69 requires the presiding officer to allow the voters to cast their votes anyway and register them by hand in the KIEMS. But these cases would have to be registered in Form 32 A. And the KIEMS would show an obvious difference between the number of voters who voted and the number of voters who were registered electronically by fingerprint. Again: IEBC has not answered our request to tell us if a high occurrence of forms 32 A coincided with a high occurrence of multiple voters with one ID number. Instead, the Commission’s spokesman has told us they were uploading a number of scanned forms 32 A for us – which is no answer to the question.
This Case 2 Variant C – unlawfully registered voters who share the same ID No. – is one of THE version of events in which rigging can occur – if others in the polling station, including the IEBC officer, conspire. A voter who is registered under his / her name but a wrong ID No is allowed to vote because the finger print cannot be taken. Unfortunately, because of the contradicting explanations by the IEBC, we cannot exclude that this has happened.
Two more Coincidences
Interestingly enough, it was Homa Bay, where a candidate for governor, Oyugi Magwanga, has challenged the result of the gubernatorial election. And it was in his trial in the Homa Bay High Court that Homa Bay Town constituency returning officer Kipruto Yegon and his Karachuonyo counterpart Jackline Osiemo have, according to a news article, testified that the KIEMS batteries were empty in the morning and that the start of the election process was therefore delayed (link to article in The Star) for more than 30 minutes. Reporters in Homa Bay might confirm if a table computer can really be fully recharged in 30 minutes only or if the batteries were again empty after a while. And what has happened thereafter?
What really made the Voter Database functional?
Another contradiction or gap in the answers by the IEBC: Andrew Limo of the IEBC has written to RoGGKenya that the fingerprint data was the unique identifier that the Register of Voters database operates on, and identifier that each database needs to avoid confusion with data that are at first sight identical. In this case e.g. a voter with the same name and the same date of birth. Limo’s statement again is contradicting. It is contradicting the fact that there is a procedure in the Elections Regulation No. 69 to allow voting without being identified by the KiEMS. In this case there would be no unique identifier for the respective voters, and the Register of Voters would be disfunctional.
Effects for some Electoral Positions
According to the ELOG analysis, the latest Register of Voters for the 2017 elections contained 169,646 duplicate IDs could be found, representing 0.87 percent of the registered voters. This was certainly not enough for being used to rigg the presidential elections. But if concentrating locally, it could have been enough to influence the elections for the National Assembly or the County Assembly, especially in Rangwe and Karachuonyo, but also in Bondo, Seme and some other constituencies in Nyanza.
by Carolyne Oyugi and Ulli Schauen