Ahead of the March 18 elections, a text circulating rapidly on WhatsApp, created the impression that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) can be preloaded before voting starts on election day.
The viral post urges the electorate to monitor the BVAS machine before the voting exercise begins as it claims that it has to be on a zero value when turned on.
“This is BVAS Machine. Please inspect and ensure that the value is 00000.0000.00 before INEC officials begins the voting exercise for the day in your polling unit, if it’s not on that value, raise alarm. Please help spread this message, We must get it right this time,” the viral WhatsApp post read.
Claim: Can BVAS be preloaded before the voting exercise starts?
The CDD Election War Room reviewed the claim and has not found any evidence supporting it.
BVAS is a technological innovation introduced in 2021. Since then, it has been celebrated for enhancing the transparency of the voting process and boosting public trust in recent elections.
The CDD Election War Room has published an in-depth explainer on BVAS. Similarly, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) such as Enough is Enough (EiE) and Yiaga Africa have produced explainer videos demonstrating how the BVAS machine functions. None of these explainers stated that the BVAS machine can be preloaded.
Further checks showed no mention of the BVAS machine needing to be at a certain value to function optimally.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently conducted a mock exercise to test-run the devices ahead of the 2023 general elections. The exercise was monitored by CSOs and media organisations. The post-mock exercise reports did not state that the BVAS machine can be pre-loaded or rather needs to be on a certain value to function.
CDD Election War Room found the claim to be misleading. We found no credible source supporting the claim that BVAS can be preloaded before the voting exercise starts.