Clerk’s office models election methods for Nigerian

Published: Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo provided)
Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham and election zone manager Bob Mitchell are shown with Nigerian Abubakar Lawal Malumfashi in front of a vote-mobile.

GENEVA – Officials with the Kane County Clerk’s Office on Friday said they were flattered an election official from Nigeria wanted to learn about how elections are conducted here.

As election zone manager Bob Mitchell said, it is a reflection that Kane County’s reputation of “honesty and fairness is that widespread.”

Abubakar Lawal Malumfashi, the chairman of the Katsina State Electoral Commission, traveled to Geneva intent on learning about Kane County’s electronic voting system – a method his Nigerian state hopes to adopt, he said.

His state, which shares a border with Niger, uses a manual process in which votes are counted by hand. A week might pass before the results are known.

Kane County began using the electronic system in 2005, said Chief Deputy Clerk Stan Bond, noting it uses equipment from Hart InterCivic.

Although Malumfashi was not in Kane County on Election Day, Bond said there was still a “fair amount of work” to be done, such as auditing the results and exploring any anomalies.

Clerk officials showed their visitor the clerk’s office, vote center and voting equipment. Clerk Jack Cunningham also spent a few hours with Malumfashi.

Mitchell said it was enlightening to learn how other governments conduct elections.

While there are subtle differences, he said, “We’re very similar.”

For example, in Katsina’s last election, voter turnout was high – more than 60 percent, Malumfashi said. Voter turnout Tuesday in Kane County was about 68 percent.

Voting requirements in Katsina include the voter must be 18, a citizen of the local government and not have a criminal history, Malumfashi said.