- Background of the Study.
Elections form a critical process in democratic systems and application of information technologies to their management is a great milestone towards realizing effectiveness and efficiency not only in the results of the election process itself but also in the financial implications that come up with the process.
One basic feature of student’s unionism is the right to be able to choose their leaders by themselves through the processes of elections. And one basic feature of democracy that cuts across all divides of people is the act of election. Democracy thus encourages individual freedom according to the rule of law, so that people can behave and express themselves as they choose. This not only gives people the chance to choose their leaders, but also air their views on issues affecting their well–being. For a democratic government, public opinion is the most important determinant to establish a government and voting is the process through which people display their opinion and help to setup a democratic government. So the voting system should be reliable, accurate and above all must be transparent.
In the paper or manual voting system, a voter usually goes to the voting stations known as voting units. After direct person-person verification with some IDs, the voter is allowed to vote. The voter is then given a ballot paper which allows a single vote. Once the ballot paper is used, it cannot be reused. However, this ballot paper must also be anonymous as voters do not need to display their identity. I.e. to say, that the ballot paper must identify the voter as being permitted to vote, but not reveal their actual identity. Traditional polling methods trust a lot of parties during the election.
The various drawbacks of a traditional electioneering system are mainly collusion between the electronic officials and contestants, the queuing time, delayed results, overworked tallying officials and the undeniable fact of human errors. The existing voting system did not provide reliable statistics on voting history in the college and thus campaigners lacked the ground to apply scientific voter forecasting methods resolving to trial and error methodologies which are error prone and inconsistent.
Reinforcing a one voter one vote policy is difficult in such a situation and malpractices as rigging are not uncommon in manual voting system. It is impossible to completely rule out the need for technology and electronic voting, with the growing number of eligible voters and manual ballot papers involved. It was very easy or manageable in the past because, the institution had few numbers of students (eligible voters). But now the numbers of students have increased and have a high possibility of increasing higher, in the nearest future. It was manageable when we had just the NCE program and few courses on the degree program. But as real as it is now, the institution is growing beyond bounds and the manual system of voting which in so many previous Students’ union government (SUG) elections had caused more than a lot of chaos. The institution, Federal college of education (technical) Omoku, having adopted information technology in various fields of her dealings with students, the student union government should also adopt a new system of voting which is the electronic voting (E-voting) system.
Let’s consider the following points on the existing voting system in the student union government (SUG) of Federal College of Education Omoku:
- The system that exists currently in Federal college of education (Technical) Omoku student Union Government, is totally paper based and manual, that takes lots of time and the government has to bear the financial expenses for this purpose.
- The voters are registered just before the poll so the election commission gets some time in hand for making all the necessary arrangements with in this short period of time. They just add the new voters with the previous voters so that the people who are deceased by this time may be considered as the existing voter if the election committee members are not informed. So people may not see the voter’s list as reliable because it contains numerous fake voters.
- Again the authority itself may be corrupted and can allow some fake voters to participate. If any voter stays outside the school premises or misses the registration processes somehow due to prior obligations or unavoidable circumstances, he or she wouldn’t be considered as a voter.
- Sometimes people ruin their votes by stamping on two or more signs mistakenly. This is also a drawback of paper based voting system.
- While casting the votes the acting officers present in the centers marks a voter with a black ink on his or her nail but it is removable. So there is a high chance of casting illegal votes. (I.e. voting more than one time)
All these problems together inspired the thought of developing a new system that will reduce corruption, increase accuracy and fast paced. The concept of electronic voting system comes from this necessity.
Lets also consider some advantages of the electronic voting (E-voting) system, been the proposed system if implemented.
- Online voting (E-voting) systems’ efforts will be geared towards the minimization, if not the total elimination, of the problems associated with manual systems of elections. A number of mechanisms will be introduced to ensure that time and other resources are efficiently used.
- Although the initial cost of developing the online voting systems would be high, the long run effects would be that election costs would drastically reduce.
- Online voting (E-voting) systems would make obsolete the need for ballot boxes and papers, because the system would simulate these. This would mean that printing costs would be reduced by a considerable amount.
- Online voting (E-voting) systems usually tally results as and when votes are cast. This also means that vote counting, which takes a lot of time when done manually, would be eliminated. At the click of a button, results of an election would be displayed.
These and many more are the possible advantages the student union government of federal college of education (technical) Omoku, will get if the proposed online voting system is accepted and implemented.
- Statement of the Problem:
Using the decade old election system to collect votes from the students is no longer considered efficient due to the various reoccurring errors. The traditional/manual voting system employed in the management of electioneering procedures at the college were not foolproof and were prone to inconsistencies, election malpractices and untimely delivery of results leading to questions about the credibility and validity of the results the returning election officer announces. Much expense was incurred in the production, transportation, storage and destruction of the ballot papers and ballot boxes. So time has come for the paper based primordial voting system which has already proven itself an inefficient and slow procedure to be changed to something more innovative and stress free. Most voters (Students) are busy with their various academic works and Most of the voters (Students) are living far away from the school environments/campus, been the main voting centre, some voter’s don’t like to wait in queues thus due to these reasons, voters don’t visit the pooling booth and Percentage of vote is decreasing.
These days voting system is somehow complicated and time consuming, i.e. this process that involves; voters manually going to a voting centre and shows voter card (Id) to the voting officer. This voting card will be used for authentication during the actual voting process at the voting point. Where they believe that their names are made available and after authentication with this, a voters’ list will be generated for each constituency. The name of such voter will be searched in the list and each voter will then have to go to a polling station and cast their vote by placing their thumb to print against the name or symbol (Logo) of individual or aspirants of their choice. In Federal college of education (Technical) Omoku, an indelible ink mark is made on the voter’s right index finger, to show that this person has already voted and so the voter cannot vote again. This is an all time consuming process. Also a large man power is needed for checking voter id, voter list and marking the finger and at each polling station. So election commission has to pay the cost for the required man power.
After much studies on various past SUG elections of the federal college of education (technical) Omoku, and their failures in accuracy, security, fairness, adequacies etc. This study therefore laid emphasis on the design of online voting (E-Voting) system for federal college of education (technical) Omoku. Student’s union government elections.
- Purpose of the Study
The aim of this project is to design an online voting (E-voting) system for federal college of education (Technical) Omoku, student union government elections. This will help the electioneering committee of the Student Union Government achieve the following:
- To conduct a free and fair election using electronic machines.
- To replace the current inefficient manual system of voting in the college.
- To ensure credibility in elections by preventing double voting.
- To also help the student union government reduce the huge expenses incurred from conducting elections.
- Significance of the Study.
In view of the rapid development of computer technology in virtually all fields of operation in federal college of education (Technical) Omoku and its use in relation to information management, it has become important to look into the development of electronic voters registration system to enable the student’s union government to achieve the following;
(a) Conduct free and fair election.
(b) Safeguard data and information in the system.
(c) Reduce workload in the process of conducting election.
(d) Keep accurate record of votes.
- Scope of the Study.
The research work is designed to enable Electoral Commission of the Student Union Government of the Federal college of education (Technical) Omoku, to use electronic device to capture voters’ information. The design will cover some security issues and authentications.
This research covered five (5) schools in federal college of education (Technical) Omoku, Rivers State they include;
- School of primary education studies,
- School of business education
- School of vocational education
- School of secondary education (Science)
- School of technical education.
- Limitation of the Study
During the design of this project work, Time factor was the greatest barrier to the successful completion of this exercise since it had to be done within the semester.
The study was limited to federal college of education (Technical) Omoku.
- Research Questions:
In order to arrive at the stated objectives of this study, the researcher attempted to provide answers to the following questions:
- What importance is Online voting (E-voting) system to the student union government elections of federal college of education (technical) Omoku?
- How can online voting (E-voting) system solve the various inadequacies created by the current voting system (Manual voting system) of the student union government elections of federal college of education (technical) Omoku?
- What level of assurance is given to the student union government of federal college of education (technical) Omoku, that the proposed system (Online voting system) will be better and more efficient than the current system (manual voting system)?
- What are the major predictors of adopting online voting (E-voting) system in the student union government elections of federal college of education (technical) Omoku?
- Organization of Work
The study is structured into five chapters. The first chapter generally introduced the study. The second chapter reviewed relevant literatures which consists brief history of online voting. The third chapter consists of research methodology, under this chapter we talked about research design, area of study, population of the study and sample, data collection techniques, procedure for data analysis etc. The fourth chapter discussed about the data presentation and empirical analysis. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze the data obtained through questionnaires from the sample and used them to compute answers to the research. Then, we shall accept or reject the hypotheses based on stated acceptance and rejection rules at specific level of significance as well as the discussion of the findings about entrepreneurship education and recommendation of further studies. Finally the conclusion segment of the work closes the study.
- Definition of Terms.
Student’s Union Government: This is a body, made of individuals (students) with the power to make and execute laws to control the students in a given institution. They are groups of people who hold monopoly on the legitimate use of force in a given institution.
Election: this is a process of choosing a leader, members of parliament, councilors or other representatives by popular vote.
Voting: This is an act or the process through which people display their opinion and help to setup a democratic government.
Online Voting System: Also known as e-voting is a term encompassing several different types of voting embracing both electronic means of counting votes. Electronic voting technology can include punched cards, optical scan voting systems and specialized voting kiosks (including self-contained direct-recording electronic voting systems or DRE)
Campus: The grounds and buildings of a university or college.