Kenya. Election administration in 2017
I am Fred and worked for the Kenyan electoral authority in 2017 as a maintenance operator for the use of the management technology. Elections by Kenyans are not conducted electronically, but the results are stored and forwarded electronically. Extensive technology was purchased for this purpose. Our work processes were simply differentiated in:
- technical assistance
I was part of a team of three hundred and fifty technically skilled employees hired by OT mopho (safran mopho), a French multinational company. They are specialised in security and identity solutions. The company won the tender for the election management system in Kenya for the parliamentary elections in August 2017.
The contract began in mid-May with the unpacking and was to run for a period of three months. The delivery of Mopho tablets followed by Power Banks and later Bag Packs. Within the first weeks we were busy unpacking and loading the devices. After all, there were about 45,000 of them.
After all devices were fully loaded, the main task was to configure the computers to the right specifications.
Network Connection Tool (NCT)
Electronic Voter Identification (EVI)
Results transmission system (RTS)
The configuration work began with copying the pre-installed installation package to SD cards and duplicating it to other SD cards, a job that took a week due to the large number of cards available. We divided into groups, some of which took care of installation, configuration and testing, while the other group was pairing and packaging for shipping to all three hundred and ten constituencies throughout the Republic.
I was stationed at the installation, configuration and test desk. Here I used the SD cards and SIM cards for two different mobile phone companies depending on the region and network strength of the area. I made sure that the Mopho tablets recognized the network signals of the mobile network operators and that the NCT, EVI and RTS were installed and data processed.
The second step was the creation of QR codes for all registers of the polling stations and the transmission of the QR codes of the elections.
The configuration was taken over for each constituency.
The entire process took from May to the end of July to configure forty-five thousand tablets for shipping. Each bag contained a Morpho tablet, two power banks, and the memo of the operator and elections manager.
At the beginning of August we all had to complete training of trainers. Afterwards the election management personnel could further train the election clerks. We must be present on election day to provide support in case of technical problems or failures.
In Nairobi, a telephone support group provided on-site support to technicians in all 310 constituencies.
KIEMS TECHNOLOGY IN ACTION ON ELECTION DAY
NCT network connection tool
As soon as the Mopho tablets were switched on, you had to click on the NCT in the menu bar to test the connection. A permanently good signal was needed to ensure a good connection, to transmit the results and to generate protocols.
EVI electronic voter identification
The staff of the electoral body, namely the presiding officer (polling station manager), was responsible for conducting voter identification. Once the app was opened, the officials took over the process of implementing the biometrics of the voter through the Mopho tablet.
After clicking on the EVI in the menu bar, the presiding officer opens Election Day. The polling station was opened and, by entering a password, the electoral register of the polling station too. By subsequently scanning the QR codes we had previously generated, the electoral clerks were able to start biometric scans to identify the registered voters.
Voters had to present themselves personally to the polling station and carry the identity papers, the national identity card, with them. After presenting the papers, they had to move on to biometric voter identification. For this each voter had to put his finger on the biometric scanner of the mopho tablet. A scan of up to 70% was usually sufficient to identify the voter from a list of voter records in the polling station. His data, including a picture of the voter, was displayed.
The clerk had to check the information, and if validated correctly by clicking, so that the voter could receive the ballot papers to tick the desired candidate.
A voter could not be identified more than once. If you tried to go through the process for the second time, a red flag was displayed indicating that the voter had already been identified. The person then had to be handed over to the police, as this was an electoral offence and one was prosecuted for it.
Voters without biometrics had a complementary method of identification. The decision to validate them or not had to be submitted to the supervisory authorities. The responsible staff members had to enter a password for validation after the identification documents were scanned before they received the ballot papers for the selection of their preferred candidates.
At the end of the voting day, the presiding officer had to close the voting period on the Morpho tablet. He still had the opportunity to write comments. Subsequently, with the entry of his password and confirmation, the datas of the voting results were sent to the constituency back-end office and the national control centres. But there are more details with RTS.
RTS results transmission system
After all votes were cast, they had to be counted and confirmed, a decision form filled out and signed by all political representatives in the presence of accredited observers. The results then announced in the polling station had to be transmitted electronically to the constituencies, county tallying center and national tallying centres.
In the polling station, the polling officer had to start the RTS on the Mopho tablet, scan the QR code for the polling transmission and confirm that the polling station selected the polling result to be transmitted.
The presiding officer had to fill in the fields on the Mopho tablet to get all results, which included the number of voters, the votes cast, the rejection and each score of the candidates. The picture and documents of the political party/candidate were attached to the results and sent together with the electronically completed form.
The election worker had to confirm before sending it, because it could not be undone after sending it.
All results transferred once were displayed in the Results Center and on the back-end servers.
I worked in Kisumu-West. Regardless of the subsequent political problems, it was an exciting work.