By Emem Idio, Yenagoa
As part of its voter access expansion exercise, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has disclosed that the Commission has created 440 additional polling units in Bayelsa State.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Dr. Cyril Omoregbe, who stated this at an expanded stakeholder meeting in Yenagoa, the State capital on Tuesday, noted that with this development, Bayelsa State had 1,804 polling units before the exercise, now has 2,244 Polling Units.
He explained that the Commission was expanding voter access to polling units by converting existing voting points and settlements into full polling units, adding that “INEC also seized this opportunity to relocate existing polling units to places where they are closer or more accessible to voters, as well as decongest existing polling units by reducing the number of voters at polling units.”
According to the REC, another objective is to improve the quality of access to electoral services provided to all voters by the Commission, including better access to polling units for persons with disabilities.
He said the 120,000 polling units used for the 2019 general elections were grossly inadequate for a country with 84 million registered voters, stressing that many eligible voters refused to vote on election day because of the distance of polling units to their residence, or the usual crowd in the polling units.
Omoregbe said, “Converting polling points to polling units would reduce the overcrowding of voters during the election, and so bring polling units closer to the people. INEC would continue to address the issue of polling units after the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) as the commission is targeting 120 million voters for 2023 elections.”