The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has created 440 additional polling units in Bayelsa, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Cyril Omoregbe said on Tuesday.
The creation of the additional polling units are part of the commission’s voter access expansion exercise, which it is carrying out across the country.
Omoregbe at an expanded stakeholders meeting in Yenagoa, the state capital, stated that with the development, Bayelsa which previously had 1,804 polling units, now has 2,244 polling units.
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According to him, the commission was expanding voter access to polling units by converting existing voting points and settlements into full polling units, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The INEC Commissioner explained that another reason for the addition was to improve the quality of access to electoral services provided to all voters, which includes better access to polling units for persons living with disabilities.
He informed that the 120, 000 polling units used for the 2019 general elections were grossly inadequate for a country with 84 million registered voters.
“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.
“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 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.
“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”.
Some of the stakeholders at the meeting were the federal lawmakers representing Ogbia Federal Constituency, Fred Obua and that of Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency, Fred Agbedi, the special adviser to the governor on political matters, Collins Cocodia, amongst others.