FACT CHECK: Is it only index finger that is valid for voting in 2019 election?

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Abideen Muhammed

Conclusion: No!

A fake news has been going around that INEC has changed their pattern of voting. The message reads that voting with the thumb is now null and void and voters can only cast their vote with their index finger.

The viral social media message, especially on WhatsApp postulated that it’s only index finger that can be used to vote in 2019 election. However, a fact check confirmed that it is a clear fallacy.

The message partly reads: “INEC has changed the pattern of voting without the majority of citizens being aware o!”

“You DON’T VOTE with YOUR THUMB ANYMORE …YOU Vote with Your INDEX FINGER( Warning Finger).”

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked this information flying around that it is only the index finger (pointer) that is acceptable for marking a ballot paper.

INEC posted on its twitter page @inecnigeria as follows: “Fake News Alert: Any finger can be used for marking a ballot paper. #NigeriaDecides2019.”

Another evidence is that at the point of registration, it is not only the index finger that is captured. At the point of registration, all ten fingers were captured. So any finger can be used for marking a ballot paper.

INEC has made voting more easy by saying that a voter can either thumbprint or use any finger to print his/her choice political party column on the ballot paper.

Persons With Disability (PWD) who may not even have a thumb or even an index finger can vote. Such people can print the ballot paper using any finger. The vote is still valid.

INEC also recognise PWDs who have zero finger – that is, no finger at all. PWDs are Nigerians with equal rights of franchise. Therefore, INEC allows that such zero-finger registered voters were registered with biodata and not biometrics. As such, they have to be identified or certified using their Biodata as captured on the SCR (Serial Card Reader).

However, voters should be guided and ensure that the ink does not cross into another box, otherwise the vote will be considered invalid. I think this is the basis of the rumour. They believe any other finger used will spill over to another line which is not true. One just needs to be careful.

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