Elections in Nigeria are chaotic and fraught with numerous problems like late arrival of election materials, ballot box snatching, rigging and violence. We developed the Pollwatch project to support the election monitoring role of the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform (CODER). Pollwatch is built on Ushahidi, the well-known Kenyan incident monitoring platform. The Pollwatch project evolved from Quickcount 2007.
Pollwatch successfully crowd-sourced incidence reports from verified poll monitors and members of the public. While we were able to extract individual PU results from SMS, email and phonecalls, Ushahidi was not able to pull results automatically from posted reports like the Quickcount 2007 system. There is a need to design an open-source Quickcount-As-A-Service (QAAS) platform. Such a platform could be used by political parties and poll monitors alike to monitor election results real-time.
Pollwatch Incidence Reports were also posted to the Pollwatch Twitter account @pollwatchNG.
The Pollwatch system was administered from the Pollwatch Contact Center shown in the pictures below:
Tools and Techniques
- Server Host (Mediatemple)
- Ushahidi self-hosted version
- Contact Center:
- 6 iMac desktop PCs
- GSM modems to receive SMS data from observers
- 4 GSM voice lines
- Training materials: color-coded Quick Reference Cards, training manual (shown below)
- Newspaper adverts
- Election Day interviews on national television
- Television adverts
- Youtube video
- GIS Data (nationwide polling unit locations)
Quick Reference cards and training manuals were used to train poll watchers:
Reports were generated in powerpoint and PDF format:
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) recently released the open source web-based Democracy Toolkit software (DemTools) which consists of four modules. The four modules are designed to enhance organization and communication by political parties and civic groups during elections.
DemTools promises to be a useful tool for monitoring future elections.