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Kenya goes hi-tech to curb election fraud

by Staff Writers
Nairobi (AFP) July 15, 2010
Kenya will use new polling technology in a constitutional referendum next month to avoid a repeat of the fraud complaints that sparked deadly riots after elections in 2007, organisers said Thursday.

New types of tally sheets will be used by polling station staff in a bid to reduce the risk of ballots being tampered with and results manipulated, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Gladys Shollei told reporters.

"Each of the new forms has a serial number and security features that are not visible with a naked eye. They have also been pre-printed with the code of the polling station and the code of the constituency," she explained.

"Learning from the past what we have done is to make sure that the form cannot be replicated," she added.

Results from the 26,000 polling stations will then be transmitted to constituency centres and subsequently to the central tallying centre in Nairobi using satellite phones.

Delays and duplications in the vote tallying for the disputed December 2007 presidential election created a period of confusion and suspicion during which violence flared, leaving arond 1,500 people dead and half million displaced.

Voters go to the polls on August 4 to vote on an overhaul of the constitution, the first major revision since the former British colony won its independence in 1963.

Despite government backing for the rewrite, polls show that opinion among Kenyans is evenly split.

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