Claim: A broadcast message has been circulating on WhatsApp platforms claiming that Nigerians can vote without their Permanent Voter’s Card provided they have registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
Verdict: FALSE. INEC had disclosed that PVC is required to be allowed to vote.
A broadcast message has been circulating on WhatsApp platforms with a claim that Nigerians can vote without their permanent voter card provided they had registered with the INEC.
The viral message reads, “Contrary to speculation that without your Permanent Voters Card, PVC, you cannot vote in the election, INEC said provided your name is in their register you can vote on election day. If you had registered with INEC but could not collect your PVC before election day.
“What you just need to do is, on election day, go to your polling unit where you registered and check for your name in the register on display before the election day. If you appear, then meet the polling unit officer with VIN in the register. With the help of the BVAS, you can vote on election day.
“Now, this is how the BVAS works. There will be no thumb printing for other people this time around. Once you can give your VIN to the electoral officers, he or she will allow you to place your thumb on the BVAS machine. This means your temporary voter card is still valid. Keep it.
“Once you place your thumb on the BVAS machine, it will first display your BioData (picture, birthday, and other information about you). And thereafter, the BVAS machine will display all the political parties’ Logos, and you will then thumbprint the party you wish to vote for. The BVAS machine will transmit your voting results to the relevant collation center.
“No one else can use your PVC on election day, and there will be no card reader in use on election day. However, go and collect your PVC to make your voting process easy.
“Many of the PVCs are not readily available for collection. Those who registered or made a correction or transfer early this year PVCs are not in the INEC office. Many of them were asked to come to collect their PVC in the second week of December 2022.
“This shouldn’t be a reason to panic, for you will eventually vote if you have registered with INEC. Your name and passport will be on display at the polling unit where you registered.
“This information is very helpful, useful, and vital, so those who may have misplaced their PVC should not panic. They can still exercise their franchise.”
Findings by FactCheck Elections revealed that the INEC had, in 2021, kicked against the Federal Government’s proposed use of the National Identification Number (NIN) as a requirement for voter registration in Nigeria.
The Commission noted that the move is not backed by law, and it does not share its powers to register voters with any other government agency.
Meanwhile, the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, debunked and described the broadcast message as misleading in a live video.
Yakubu noted that for any person to vote, he/she must be registered and issued a Permanent Voters Card.
He urged Nigerians to disregard the news, saying it is fake and misleading.
“The misleading statement that voters can vote on the day of the election without a voter’s card. 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 PVC.
“I hereby urge Nigerians to ignore any suggestion that a person can vote on Election Day without a PVC.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to call Section 47, Subsection 1 of the Electoral Act 2022. It says, and I quote, ‘a person intending to vote in an election shall present himself with his voter’s card to a presiding officer for accreditation in the polling unit in the constituency in which his name is registered.’ So, nobody can vote without his Permanent Voters Card.
“The mandate of the Law is therefore clear. The PVC remains a mandatory requirement for voting.”
FactCheck Elections can conclude that the WhatsApp broadcast message claiming that Nigerians can vote without their permanent voter card provided they had registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) is FALSE.
This report was written by FactCheck Hub and republished by DUBAWA as part of the Nigerian Fact-checkers’ Coalition initiative. See the original piece here.