INEC Shuts Down Claim Nigerians Can Vote Without PVC On Election Day

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has refuted reports claiming that persons registered by the commission can vote in the 2023 election without presenting their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) to accreditation officers at their polling units.

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Yakubu said the reports that started trending last week are misleading and contradict provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.

His reaction came against the backdrop of arguments that Nigerians should be allowed to vote without their PVCs since the newly introduced Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines can validate voters without them presenting their cards physically at polling units.

The INEC boss made the clarification at the ongoing induction retreat held for the commission’s Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Lagos.

“Let me also seize this opportunity to comment on two issues. The first is the misleading statement that voters can vote on election day without voters’ cards. It has been trending since last week. This is absolutely incorrect.

“For any person to vote, he or she must be a registered voter issued with the Permanent Voters Cards (PVC). The commission has consistently maintained the policy of ‘No PVC, No Voting’ (and) nothing has changed. It is a legal requirement and doing otherwise will be a violation of the law. I urge Nigerians to ignore any suggestion that a person can vote on election day without a PVC.”

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Professor Yakubu stressed that Section 47, subsection 1 of the Electoral Act 2022 leaves no room for ambiguity on the requirement that all voters must present their PVCs for accreditation and voting on election day.

The section reads, “A person intending to vote in an election shall present himself with his voter’s card to a Presiding officer for accreditation at the polling unit in the constituency in which his name is registered.”

The INEC chairman added that “nobody can vote in an election without a voter’s card. The position of the law is therefore clear, the PVC remains a mandatory requirement for voting.”

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